U.S. President Donald Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, his doctor said on Saturday, as the U.S. president extended a travel ban to Britain and Ireland to try to slow the spread of a pandemic that has shut down much of the daily routine of American life.
After White House officials took the unprecedented step of checking the temperatures of journalists entering the briefing room, Trump told reporters he took a test for the virus on Friday night. On Saturday evening, his physician, Sean Conley, said the results were negative.
The U.S. president met with a Brazilian delegation last week, at least one member of which has since tested positive.Trump said Americans should reconsider non-essential travel, and that his administration was also considering domestic travel restrictions.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country has recorded 2,226 cases of the new coronavirus but has not yet reached the peak of the outbreak.
“This will get worse before it gets better,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said at the briefing. But, he added, “99% of people will recover and people need to know that.”
Critics have accused Trump of focusing too much on markets, which on Friday saw the three major Wall Street indexes gain more than 9% after having had their worst day since 1987 on Thursday.
All three indexes were nevertheless down at least 8% for the week and about 20% below mid-February record highs.
At the briefing, Trump told reporters he was “honored to see that the stock market set a record in a short period of time over a 45-minute period.” He called it an “all-time record” that he hoped would be repeated daily.
“They said, ‘Sir, you just set a record in the history of the stock market. That was pretty good. Those great companies that were there, they couldn’t have been too unhappy about it … They are all big, publicly listed companies, so they did a good job,” he said before turning the microphone over to Vice President Mike Pence, who is running the White House’s response to the outbreak.
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.
Trump spoke to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday about the new restrictions, the White House said.