Trump undergoes coronavirus test; imposes travel ban on UK too

By: AFP      Published: 09:49 PM, 14 Mar, 2020
Trump undergoes coronavirus test; imposes travel ban on UK too

President Donald Trump said Saturday he had taken a coronavirus test, as the White House began protectively checking the temperature of anyone coming into close contact with him or Vice President Mike Pence.

Appearing at a White House news conference where he attempted again to provide guidance and assurance to worried Americans, Trump said he had yet to receive the results of his own test.

Contrary to medical advice, the president was seen Friday shaking hands all round as he gathered his coronavirus response team at the White House -- a practice he said Saturday owed to long-time habit as a politician but which he said would have to change.

Trump said Friday he'd "most likely" get tested for the novel coronavirus, as he was grilled on his recent contacts with several members of a visiting Brazilian presidential delegation who have since tested positive. But a White House doctor later walked that back, saying he "remains without symptoms" and did not need to be tested.

Briefing reporters on Saturday, the president said he did indeed take the test on Friday night, and expected the results in a day or two. The White House announced earlier in the day that "out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the president and vice president."

Before Saturday's briefing, a member of the White House medical team took the temperature of all journalists wishing to attend. One of them was excluded after a high reading.

Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence announced Saturday that a travel ban imposed on European nations over the coronavirus pandemic would be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland starting at 0400 GMT Tuesday.

"Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home," Pence told a White House news conference, adding that such people would be "funneled through specific airports and processed."

A 30-day US ban on travel from the EU's Schengen border-free zone took effect on Saturday, but notably excludes Britain and Ireland. Trump had earlier confirmed the ban would be extended to those countries as the pandemic progresses, saying: "They've had a little bit of activity, unfortunately."