Donald Trump tests negative for coronavirus, extends travel ban to UK and Ireland

Donald Trump's personal doctor says the US president has tested negative for coronavirus.

US President Donald Trump during a press conference in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC.

US President Donald Trump during a press conference in the press briefing room at the White House in Washington, DC. Source: AAP

US President Donald Trump has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the White House physician said Saturday.

Mr Trump submitted to the test after coming in contact with several members of a Brazilian presidential delegation visiting his Florida resort who have since tested positive for the virus.

"This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative," the president's physician Sean Conley said in a memo.

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"One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free," he said.

Europe travel ban extended

The United States announced on Saturday it was stepping up its fight against the coronavirus and extending a European travel ban to include the United Kingdom and Ireland, while acknowledging that some domestic travel curbs are also being considered.

President Donald Trump has decided to "suspend all travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland" effective midnight Monday EST, Vice President Mike Pence told a White House news conference.

"Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home," Mr Pence said, adding that such people would be "funnelled through specific airports and processed."



Asked about possible travel restrictions within the US, Mr Pence said the administration was considering "a broad range of measures, but no decisions have been made yet."

"We're going to continue to follow the facts," he said. "We're going to continue to listen to the experts."

Earlier, Mr Trump confirmed he had taken a coronavirus test but that his temperature was “totally normal”.

Mr Trump said Americans should reconsider non-essential travel, and that his administration was also considering domestic travel restrictions.

Passengers embrace after arriving on a flight from Europe at Logan International Airport in Boston, Friday, 13 March, 2020.
Passengers embrace after arriving on a flight from Europe at Logan International Airport in Boston, Friday, 13 March, 2020. Source: AAP


European officials have reacted angrily to Mr Trump's sweeping travel ban, calling on the US for cooperation to fight the pandemic.

The original 30-day US ban on travel from the 26 countries of Europe's Schengen border-free zone took effect on Saturday, but notably excluded Britain and Ireland.

A senior administration official said Saturday of the new limit on travel from the UK and Ireland that "I do believe it will be the same duration as the Schengen Zone."



The administration had hoped to stop anyone from the Continent using the UK and Ireland as transit points en route to the US, the official told reporters in a background briefing, "but that is proving operationally very difficult for us."

The original move caused widespread consternation among travellers.

Mr Pence said the administration was extending to Britain and Ireland travel restrictions that were first imposed on China and expanded this week to continental Europe.

Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, said Mr Trump decided to add Britain to the travel ban because of the rising number of coronavirus cases there.



Health authorities in England announced on Saturday a further 10 deaths caused by COVID-19, almost doubling the number of fatalities in Britain since Friday.

A senior DHS official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Britain and Ireland were added because the United States was not able effectively to determine whether travelers from those countries were trying to sidestep the European travel ban.

“The travel investigation couldn’t be effectively managed on our side,” the senior DHS official said.

 


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3 min read
Published 15 March 2020 at 10:02am
Source: AFP,Reuters,SBS

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