WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said on Saturday that tests for the new coronavirus were negative after fearing exposure to a disease that paralyzed the planet.
Trump contacted several members of the Brazilian presidential delegation who visited his Florida resort and agreed to take the test, after which they 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.
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free,” he said.
Trump, 73, had dismissed concerns over his exposure to the disease which has killed at least 51 Americans and upended the rhythm of daily life across the country, with millions working from home and schools shuttered.
New York, the most populous US city, saw its first coronavirus death on Saturday, as store shelves were stripped bare after days of panic buying.
“I have been through Hurricane Sandy… through 9/11, I have never seen shopping like this,” said Larry Grossman, manager of a Manhattan supermarket.
Vice President Mike Pence announced further restrictions on travel to the United States on Saturday, saying that the travel ban imposed by Europe due to the pandemic will be extended to Britain and Ireland on Tuesday.
Trump advised against unnecessary travel, saying officials are considering introducing travel restrictions in the United States.
“If you don´t have to travel, I wouldn´t do it,” Trump said at a White House news conference. “We want this thing to end. We don´t want a lot of people getting infected.”
Trump announced a national emergency on Friday, and critics said it was a long delay in the severity of the crisis, releasing about $ 40 billion in emergency aid.
Later on Friday, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill negotiated between the Democrats and the Trump administration to provide billions of dollars for free virus testing, paid emergency sick leave, and family leave related to the epidemic.
With Trump’s support, a Republican-controlled Senate is expected to pass easily next week.
The news of Trump’s tests marked another turning point after days of opposition to the proposal.