US slashes federal interest rates in response to the coronavirus pandemic

The Trump administration said has slashed federal interest rates as part of an effort to stabilize the economy following a rocky week on the financial markets.

The U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near-zero, the second time that the central bank has cut interest rates in as many weeks. The Federal Reserve also launched a $700 billion quantitative easing program to help prevent a further economic downturn sparked by the spread of coronavirus.

A statement said the bank will maintain its interest rates “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.”

There are more than 142,000 confirmed cases globally, according to the World Health Organization’s latest situation report on Saturday, with some 3,300 confirmed cases in the U.S., according to Vice President Mike Pence, who spoke from the White House on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, U.K. authorities advised all British nationals and residents against all but essential travel to the United States.

News of the travel advisory came shortly before new U.S. travel restrictions are set to take effect on Monday night, effectively banning all travelers from Europe for 30 days — sparing only U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The Trump administration later extended the ban to the U.K. and Ireland following a spike in confirmed infections.