President Donald Trump tested negative for coronavirus, his doctor said Saturday. Vice President Mike Pence also said new travel restrictions would be put in place with regard to the U.K. and Ireland.
Meanwhile, the French prime minister said the country is getting ready to close all cafés, restaurants, clubs and cinemas because the spread of the virus has continued.
And the mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey, ordered a curfew across the city starting Monday.
The United States has surpassed 2,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, and the death toll climbed to 59, with 25 of the deaths associated with the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington.
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Puerto Rico closes schools, bans cruises after island confirms first cases
Gov. Wanda Vázquez announced that the public school system in Puerto Rico will close for two weeks and that no cruise ships will be allowed to dock on the island's main port in San Juan.
The announcement came in response to news that at least three people have contracted COVID-19 in Puerto Rico, the first cases for the U.S. territory.
White House doctor will check temperature of all those in contact with Trump and Pence
A member of the White House Physician's Office will take temperatures of all people who come in contact with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, the administration said on Saturday.
“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,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said.
These temperature checks, which includes all members of the White House press corps, come after reports that the president has been in close contact with individuals who later tested positive for the infection.
After the president dismissed his own need to receive testing multiple times, including at a Friday press conference, he backpedaled slightly when pressed by reporters on his contact with individuals who have self-quarantined or tested positive.
"Well, I didn't say I wasn't going to be tested," Trump said. "Most likely, yeah. Most likely. Not for that reason, but because I think I will do it anyway."
The president's doctor, Sean P. Conley, said in a memo late Friday that because Trump's interaction was minimal, including a handshake, and because the patients were not exhibiting symptoms at the time they socialized with the president, Trump was unlikely to get the virus.
The CDC has published reports recommending testing for those who have had "close contact with a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19" or have experienced "potential exposure through attendance at events or spending time in specific settings where COVID-19 cases have been reported."
They're treating uninsured Americans. But as pandemic ramps up, money is running out.
Time and resources at nonprofit community health centers, which serve approximately 29 million low-income Americans across 1,400 facilities like this one, are being stretched to their breaking point amid the coronavirus outbreak even as they could prove essential in combating its spread.
Their ability could be further handicapped very soon: Federal funding that accounts for 70 percent of these nonprofit health centers’ budgets will run out in May.
“The unknown is an added stress for everyone,” said Dr. Asqual Getaneh, the medical director for International Community Health Services in Seattle, noting their pharmacies are running short on essential medications. “There's also stress associated with whether or not we have the supplies to protect ourselves and take care of patients who are symptomatic. We’re told this is the tip of the iceberg for this epidemic, so we’re seeing a lot of people coming in and trying to figure out how best to deliver care.”
That is a challenge for these nonprofit health centers, which were first funded by the federal government more than 50 years ago as part of the “War on Poverty.” These clinics located in every state, from dense urban centers to rural towns and communities, have served a vital role in combating national emergencies such as the opioid crisis and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The trouble is they don’t know how long they can hang on, which would inhibit efforts to stymie the spread of the disease.
Anxious travelers rushing home to US amid travel ban
Fort Bragg paratroopers return from deployment and enter quarantine
The 82nd Airborne Division quarantined more than 300 paratroopers for a 14-day period on Saturday after they returned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, from their deployment in Afghanistan.
The soldiers, who are from the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, completed a nine month tour in Afghanistan as part of Operation Resolute Support. Because that country is on a Level 2 Travel Health Notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the soldiers were directed to quarantine.
The Department of the Army requires any soldiers returning from a Level 2 nation or higher undergo the 14-day quarantine period, which includes health monitoring and medical treatment. Soldiers who live outside of Fort Bragg were ordered to stay inside their homes, in accordance with CDC guidelines, while those assigned to the barracks or without a local residence will be quarantined on the base.
“My number one priority is the protection of our Paratroopers, their families, our community, and the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19,” Maj. Gen. James Mingus, 82nd Airborne Division Commander, said. “We are taking proactive steps to protect and prevent spread.”
New York City reports its first coronavirus death
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday morning confirmed that New York City has seen its first coronavirus-related death.
The 82-year-old woman, who had emphysema, had been hospitalized since March 3 after contracting the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, Cuomo said during a teleconference, according to NBC New York.
Japan still preparing for Olympics, prime minister says
Japan continues to prepare to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday, despite continued concern about the viability of the Games given the global outbreak.
The Olympic Torch relay — in which the Olympic flame typically starts a tour around the host nation — is still due to start in the Japanese prefecture of Fukushima in less than two weeks. The tour of the torch through Greece has already been cut short.
“We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned,” Abe told the news conference in Tokyo.
Residents of apartment buildings in Italy applaud health care workers
A video filmed in Turin, Italy, shows residents of apartment buildings gathering at their windows and balconies in order to applaud the country's heath care workers who are responding to the coronavirus pandemic.
The city, home to nearly 900,000 people in northwest Italy, has been on lockdown for weeks, as the country battles the ongoing outbreak that has taken the lives of more than 1,200 people there. Approximately 18,000 Italians are infected, officials reported on Friday.
Newborn baby confirmed as youngest patient in the U.K.
A newborn in a borough near London is believed to be the youngest person in the U.K. to have tested positive for coronavirus.
A spokesperson for North Middlesex University Hospital NHS trust said that two patients at the hospital have tested positive for coronavirus. One has been transferred to a specialist centre and one is being treated in an isolation room.
In an interview with NBC News' partner broadcaster ITV News, health minister Helen Whately noted on Saturday that children seem to be less at risk compared to older people. The case of the newborn baby was first reported by British tabloid newspaper The Sun.
The U.K. has almost 800 confirmed cases as of Saturday.
Troops have no access to coronavirus tests in Afghanistan, Pentagon says
There currently are no coronavirus tests available to troops in Afghanistan, the Pentagon told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Friday — a fact a U.S. military official later confirmed to NBC News.
Coalition troops have no access to tests but if they have symptoms, believe they are at risk or have flu-like symptoms, they are able to report to sick call and receive on-base medical care.
That care includes screening and a medical diagnosis. If they are suspected of carrying coronavirus, the doctors on the base will send samples to a testing facility at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany or civilian testing facilities in Munich to conduct a COVID-19 test.
Military officials confirmed there are quarantine and isolation procedures in place at all of the military medical facilities in Afghanistan.
Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) said his office was informed by a constituent earlier this week that U.S. military personnel at a base in Afghanistan have flu-like symptoms but have tested negative for the flu.
Asked at a briefing Thursday whether there is concern about getting tests to troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said “nothing has come up to me that says we are in urgent need of test kits or whatever. So I don’t know where that’s coming from.”
“We’d have to pull the thread on that but nobody has said, 'Oh my goodness, we don’t have testing kits,' or whatever. The system seems to be working fairly well at this point,” Esper said.
North Korea claims it has no coronavirus cases
The government in North Korea claims there are no cases of COVID-19 in North Korea, according to a state news agency.
The KCNA agency said in an editorial said officials had increased the amount of public knowledge about the disease but added that this didn't mean people should feel relieved "for having no COVID-19 case in the DPRK,"
North Korea has further intensified quarantine and medical observation of foreigners entering the country according to the agency, and has freed over 70 foreigners without suspected symptoms from quarantine.
The top American general in South Korea said Friday, however, he is fairly certain North Korea has not been spared by the COVID-19 outbreak that began in neighboring China.