- Corona virus has killed at least 51 Americans so far
- Donald Trump advised against non-essential trips
- The USA declared a national emergency on Friday
Washington, United States:
US President Donald Trump tested the novel corona virus negative, his doctor said on Saturday after he was concerned about his exposure to a disease that paralyzed the globe.
Trump agreed to the test after coming into contact with several members of a Brazilian presidential delegation who visited his Florida resort and have since been tested positive for the virus.
"Tonight, I received confirmation that the test is negative," President Cone Doctor Sean Conley said in a memo.
"A week after dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the president remains symptom-free," he said.
The 73-year-old Trump had dismissed concerns about his exposure to the disease, which had killed at least 51 Americans and changed the pace of daily life across the country. Millions of them worked from home and the schools were closed.
New York, the most populous city in the United States, had its first coronavirus death on Saturday when the shelves were exposed after days of panic buying.
"I've been through Hurricane Sandy … I've never seen such purchases until September 11th," said Larry Grossman, manager of a Manhattan supermarket.
Vice President Mike Pence announced on Saturday a further restriction on travel to the United States, saying a travel ban imposed on the European nations due to the pandemic will be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland on Tuesday.
Trump advised against non-essential travel and said officials are considering imposing travel restrictions within the United States.
"If you didn't have to travel, I wouldn't," Trump said at a White House press conference. "We want this to end. We don't want many people to be infected."
Trump declared a national emergency on Friday. Critics said this was a long delayed admission of the severity of the crisis, which released approximately $ 40 billion in disaster relief funds.
Late Friday, the US House of Representatives passed a law drafted by Democrats in consultation with the Trump administration to provide billions of dollars for free virus testing, paid emergency leave, and family vacation related to the epidemic.
Supported by Trump, it is expected to easily pass the Republican-controlled Senate next week.
The news that Trump passed the test marked another turning point after days of opposition to the proposal.
An end to shaking hands
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 5,700 lives in around 137 countries.
The president was repeatedly attacked for sending mixed signals about the health crisis and raised his eyebrows on Friday when, contrary to medical advice, he shook hands with his coronavirus response team at the White House.
On Saturday he accused the habit of "people stretching out their hand … you don't think about it" – but said it had to change.
"Maybe people shouldn't shake hands in the long run," said Trump, a self-proclaimed nemesis, "because he transmits flu and other things."
Trump's virus test was carried out not only after contact with the Brazilian delegation, but also after US lawmakers and political leaders who went into self-quarantine because of possible infections.
Republican National Committee chairman Ronna McDaniel was waiting for the results of a virus test on Saturday after she had flu-like symptoms. She reportedly attended an event in Florida with Trump on Monday and flew back to Washington with Air Force One.
A wider travel ban
On Saturday, a 30-day US ban on all travel from the EU's border-free Schengen area came into effect, which is part of a worldwide restriction of travel to contain the virus.
Pence said the ban – which specifically excluded the UK and Ireland – would include both countries from midnight EST on Monday (0400 GMT on Tuesday).
"Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal (US) residents can come home," said Pence.
Trump also launched a new push against the Federal Reserve, saying he wanted it to be "much more proactive" to protect Americans from the widespread economic turmoil caused by the pandemic.
But the president, who was wearing a dark blue USA hat, seemed otherwise subdued during Saturday's briefing and unusually praised Democrats, including the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
Pelosi said she was "proud" to have reached an agreement on the relief package after days of tense talks with the White House.
Trump also tweeted that he had a "nice chat" with Canadian leader Justin Trudeau and that "it was great to hear that his wonderful wife Sophie was doing very well".
Trudeau has been telegoverning with his wife since the diagnosis of COVID-19 on Thursday.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)