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Trump Has Tested Negative for Coronavirus, Extends Travel Ban to UK and Ireland

Hours earlier, the White House physician issued a memo explaining why the president didn’t need to be tested

UPDATED March 14 at 5:45 p.m. PT

President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, according to a White House statement.

During a Saturday press briefing that he was tested Friday night for the coronavirus and that the European travel ban would be extended to the United Kingdom and Ireland as of midnight Monday.

Saturday evening, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that the president tested negative for the coronavirus and has remained symptoms-free one week after dining with two Brazilian delegates at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, who tested positive for COVID-19.

“Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed,” the statement reads. “One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free. I have been in daily contact with the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation.”

During a news conference in the White House briefing room earlier Saturday, reporters pressed the president as to why he hadn’t taken a test, considering he interacted with multiple people who have tested positive. Trump responded by saying he “took the test last night,” “only because the press is going crazy.”

Before exiting the room, reporters shouted out, asking what his temperature was. The president said on his way out, “Totally normal.”

Trump said on Friday that he would “probably” be tested, only for the White House doctor to issue a statement shortly thereafter explaining why he shouldn’t be tested or self-quarantine despite those interactions.

“The President’s exposure to the first individual was extremely limited (photograph, handshake), and though he spent more time in close proximity to the second case, all interactions occurred before any symptom onset,” Conley wrote in the memo. “These interactions would be categorized as LOW risk for transmission per CDC guidelines, and as such, there is no indication for home quarantine at this time.” Conley continued: “Additionally, given the president himself remains without symptoms, testing for COVID-19 is not currently indicated.”

The extended travel ban will undoubtedly be an additional challenge for film and TV production, which is already burdened by the shutdown and postponement of productions as a precautionary measure due to the spread of coronavirus.

Wednesday, President issued a travel ban restricting travel from 26 countries in Europe in response to the growing coronavirus pandemic. The restrictions began Friday at midnight and will be in place for 30 days. The United Kingdom and Ireland were exempt from the restrictions, along with American citizens “who have undergone appropriate screenings,” the president said.