Trump takes coronavirus test, as US extends travel ban to UK and Ireland

US President Donald Trump has taken a coronavirus test, but said on Saturday that his temperature was “completely normal,” and his administration has extended travel bans to Britain and Ireland to try to contain a pandemic. which ended much of the daily routine of Americans. life.

After White House officials took unprecedented steps to check the temperatures of reporters entering the briefing room, Trump told reporters that he had tested for the virus on Friday night and that he expects results in “a day or two days”. He met with a Brazilian delegation last week, at least one of whose members has been positive since.

Leading US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country had registered 20,226 cases of new coronavirus but had not yet reached the peak of the epidemic .

“It will get worse before it gets better,” said general surgeon Jerome Adams during the briefing.

Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the administration’s response to the epidemic, told reporters that visits to retirement homes were suspended to protect the most vulnerable.

Earlier on Saturday, officials in New York said an 82-year-old woman had become the state’s first victim of coronavirus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the woman, who had previously suffered from emphysema, was hospitalized in Manhattan on March 3. He told reporters that the number of cases in the state has increased to 524. Nationally, more than 2,000 people have been infected and 50 others have died.

Trump declared a national emergency on Friday in a move he said would allow “the full power of the federal government” to deal with the escalating health crisis by freeing up some $ 50 billion in aid. He also urged each state to set up emergency centers to help fight the virus.

Extend travel ban

On Saturday, his administration was to extend to Britain and Ireland a travel ban from Europe that would come into effect Monday evening, the United States and airlines and authorities said.

Signaling a new step in preventive measures to protect US leaders against the coronavirus, the White House on Saturday instituted a temperature control policy for journalists in the briefing room of the White House.

The pandemic has forced public schools, sporting events and cultural and entertainment facilities to close in the United States.

On Friday, U.S. shoppers opted for grocery shelves free of products ranging from disinfectants to rice, prompting retailers to stock up to replenish their stores. In response to the rush for certain items, large retailers have imposed purchasing limits.

The coronavirus wreaked havoc in this year’s US presidential election when Louisiana announced Friday that it had postponed its Democratic and Republican presidential primaries.

Early Saturday, the United States House of Representatives overwhelmingly adopted a coronavirus aid program that would provide free tests and paid sick leave, with the aim of limiting the economic damage from the epidemic.

In a bipartisan vote of 363 to 40, the Democrat-controlled House adopted a multi-billion dollar effort that would expand safety net programs to help those who may be laid off in the coming weeks. Trump has said he supports the package, increasing the likelihood that it will pass the Republican-controlled Senate next week.

Economists believe the impact of the epidemic on businesses could tip the U.S. economy into recession.