President Donald Trump has said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend all immigration to the US to "protect" the jobs of Americans and to fight the "invisible attack" on the country by the novel Coronavirus, a move that was widely criticised by the Democrats, including Indian-origin Senator Kamala Harris.The outbreak has killed more than 42,094 people in the US, the country with the most fatalities in the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 7,50,000 cases have been confirmed.
Details of Trump's executive order were not immediately known. He also did not indicate when he would sign such an order. His announcement comes as his administration seeks to reopen parts of the US from the crippling COVID-19 shutdown.
However, the NBC News reported that the move "had been under consideration for a while," a senior administration official was quoted as saying by the report. The official said the details about how the plan would be implemented and how many countries would be affected "will be forthcoming," the report added.
Immigration has long been an issue of President Trump. He has been calling for a merit-based immigration system. Since the pandemic began, the administration had already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico. And also suspended all routine visa services, both immigrant and non-immigrant, around the world. "Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1. His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he's shamelessly politicising this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda," Harris tweeted.
"It is about the message the president wants to send. He wants people to turn against 'the other.' And, regardless of the valuable contributions immigrants are making to the response and recovery, he sees immigrants as the easiest to blame," Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, was quoted as saying by CNN.
42,094COVID-19 deaths in the USDon't rush to ease restrictions, warns WHO
A couple gets ice cream in Ludwigsburg as Germany relaxes curbs. Pic/AFP
The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that rushing to ease Coronavirus restrictions will likely lead to a resurgence of the illness, a warning that comes as governments start rolling out plans to get their economies up and running again. "This is not the time to be lax. Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future," said Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific.
Around the world, step-by-step reopenings were underway in Europe, where the crisis has begun to ebb in places such as Italy, Spain and Germany. The pandemic has killed over 1,70,000 people globally, close to two thirds of them in hardest-hit Europe, according to an AFP tally Tuesday at 0935 GMT. In total, 1,70,226 people have died worldwide, including 106,737 in Europe, and there are 2,483,086 recorded cases. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Tuesday extended the lockdown till June 1 and urged citizens to "persevere" with the strict restrictions, as the city-state reported 1,111 new cases, a majority them foreign workers living in dormitories, taking the total infections to 9,125.
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