Trump has taken coronavirus test
US President Donald Trump says he took a coronavirus test on Friday night local time and had his temperature taken on Saturday.
At a press conference, Mr Trump revealed he had taken the test and would get the results in a day or two.
Mr Trump and US Vice-President Mike Pence attended an afternoon news conference at the White House, and Mr Trump said he had his own temperature taken before speaking to reporters.
"It was totally normal," Mr Trump said. "If it wasn't, I wouldn't have been here."
The White House said it is now conducting temperature checks on anyone who is in close contact with Mr Trump and Mr Pence.
The move is being taken out of an abundance of caution in response to the coronavirus outbreak, said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.
Mr Pence said he had not been tested but would see the White House doctor after the press conference.
Mr Trump has had multiple direct and indirect contacts with people who have tested positive for the pandemic virus.
Mr Pence said the US is extending its Europe travel ban to cover the United Kingdom and Ireland so that residents of those countries will not be allowed to travel here for 30 days beginning midnight Monday eastern time (2pm Tuesday AEDT). Those bans do not apply to Americans abroad.
"Americans in the UK or Ireland can come home. Legal residents can come home," Mr Pence told a White House news conference, adding that such people would be "funnelled through specific airports and processed."
A 30-day US ban on travel from the EU's Schengen border-free zone took effect on Saturday local time, but notably excludes Britain and Ireland.
Mr 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."
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.
While Mr Trump had initially suggested he would get tested for coronavirus, the White House then said he would not.
It came as a third person who visited Mar-a-Lago with Mr Trump last weekend has been confirmed to have the coronavirus with Brazil's Acting Ambassador Nestor Forster testing positive on Friday local time.
The president also came into contact with Brazilian Press Secretary Fabio Wajngarten on Saturday who tested positive and he attended a dinner on Sunday after which one of the attendees was also diagnosed. It's not clear who that attendee is.
Meanwhile, Ivanka Trump self-isolated after her exposure to Peter Dutton.
The White House sought to downplay the threat to its most senior members.
Ms Trump and Attorney-General Bill Barr yesterday worked from home and were not planning to go into a 14-day self-isolation.
Mr Trump capped off a tumultuous week with a White House address that bolstered Wall Street's biggest one-day jump since 2008.
He declared coronavirus a national emergency and dedicated a potential $US50 billion ($A78 billion) towards the fight.
WHERE AUSTRALIA IS RUNNING OUT OF THE CORONAVIRUS TEST
Less than two months after the coronavirus became a public health emergency in Australia we are dangerously short of the reagent needed to carry out tests for the killer virus.
News Corp understands that stocks of this reagent are under pressure in Western Australia and Queensland.
While other states such as South Australia have around a month's supply.
The chemical is held by public pathology labs, private pathology labs as well as key scientific organisation such as the CSIRO.
However, News Corp understands that the bulk of the supply is made by a single pharmaceutical company - Roche.
The chemical is imported into Australia and supplies worldwide are dwindling as coronavirus spreads and it is needed by multiple laboratories.
The countries that make the reagent are keeping the supplies they have for their own coronavirus testing.
This outcome has yet again highlighted Australia's dangerous over reliance on foreign countries for pharmaceutical supplies.
In a statement in its website Roche said it does not manufacture medicines in Australia, and "none of the medicines we supply to Australian patients are manufactured in China".
"Globally, we are assessing our supply chains and our suppliers' supply chains for components and raw materials sourced from impacted countries, including China, as we determine the coverage and potential impact due to the COVID-19 outbreak. As of now, we have not identified any critical component that would affect our ability to supply medicines in the near future, based on current demand forecast."
The company said its global manufacturing sites adhere to specific pandemic plans and guidance, including preventive measures to reduce infection risks and social distancing measures to minimise social contacts.
"These sites also abide by comprehensive global hygiene and gowning standards and processes to safeguard against potential contamination or cross-contamination."
"As a leader in diagnostics, Roche is committed to providing testing solutions for the world's most challenging healthcare emergencies. We are delivering as many tests as possible, within the limits of supply."
Australia's chief medical officer Professor Brendan Murphy said the government was "working very hard now to make sure we have enough testing equipment for that eventuality.''
"We are doing a lot of work to procure and expand our testing capability," he said.
"We are focusing our testing on returned travellers or contacts of people who are symptomatic.
"We don't want people with an ordinary mild cold in Australia to go and get tested. We need to preserve the testing for those who need it," Professor Murphy said.
Health officials have been appealing to people who are unlikely to have the coronavirus not to present for testing to preserve the tests available for those most likely to have the virus.
The government only wants people who have recently travelled overseas or recently been in contact with a coronavirus-infected person to present for testing if they have the symptoms of coronavirus which include sore throat or a dry cough.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) South Australia president and chair of the AMA's national ethics committee Dr Chris Moy said there had been variable levels of pandemic planning across Australia states.
"We need to be doing testing on appropriate people so we don't use it up faster," he said.
Part of the problem was that the criteria for testing was continually changing leaving GPs confused, he said.
A rush on testing occurred after Health Minister Greg Hunt said last weekend that anyone who was worried they had the coronavirus should get tested.
He said it was better to over test than under test but later Chief Medical Officer Professor Brendan Murphy changed the advice and said only those who had either travelled recently or been in contact with a coronavirus case needed testing.
Dr Moy said the situation with the testing kits underlined yet again why Australia needed a single national centre for disease control to manage the outbreak of infectious diseases such as coronavirus.
The need for testing kits might abate once the coronavirus infection spread more widely throughout the community, he said.
Once that happened we would no longer be trying to identify infected individuals and trace their contacts and would be concentrating on treating those who were sick.
When this happened we would be identifying the sickest people by X-raying their lungs to see whether they had pneumonia and needed hospitalisation, he said.
US HOUSE PASSESS CORONAVIRUS BILL
The House easily passed a bipartisan coronavirus aid package early on Saturday morning local time after intense negotiating between Democrats and the Trump administration.
The bill passed 363-40, with 40 Republicans voting against it.
The "Families First coronavirus Response Act" would secure free tests for all Americans - even the uninsured - and mandatory two weeks of paid sick leave for those affected by the health crisis.
The sweeping package also provides up to three months of paid family and medical leave and strengthened unemployment insurance to brace for workers who could be laid off during the pandemic.
"(The legislation) is focused directly on providing America's families, who must be our first priority," Nancy Pelosi said before the vote. "The three most important parts of this bill are testing, testing testing."
US President Donald Trump had until Friday night opposed the legislation, arguing earlier in the day that he wanted more sacrifices from Democrats - namely, for a payroll tax cut to be included in the bill.
Good teamwork between Republicans & Democrats as the House passes the big CoronaVirus Relief Bill. People really pulled together. Nice to see!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2020
But the Mr Trump came around later in the evening, saying he "fully" supported the package in a series of tweets urging both parties to vote in favour.
"This Bill will follow my direction for free coronavirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers, Trump tweeted.
"I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt."
The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week.
The 2020 Super Rugby season will be suspended from Sunday night, but SANZAAR officials are still hoping a finals series can be staged in June.
The coronavirus crisis forced organisers to make the unprecedented call late on Saturday night, releasing a statement saying: "SANZAAR believes it has no option but to suspend the 2020 Super Rugby tournament at the conclusion of this weekend's matches for the foreseeable future."
Sunday's Brumbies vs Waratahs clash in Canberra is set to be the final match of the year.
NEW YORK RECORDS FIRST CORONAVIRUS DEATH
Meanwhile, coronavirus has claimed its first life in New York. A woman with underlying respiratory issues died in a New York City hospital, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced.
"We had last night a death in a New York City hospital of an 82-year-old woman who had coronavirus. She came into the hospital on March 3," he said. "She contracted the coronavirus on top of emphysema, then she passed."
New York now has 524 positive cases, an increase of 100 from yesterday, with 117 patients now in hospitals.
"We did 700 tests," Gov. Cuomo said.
Testing capacity is going up, and more cases are being investigated by "disease detectives."
New York State now has more cases than any other state in the US, with the number of newly confirmed infections surging past Washington state, once the epicentre of the outbreak.
New York's "numbers are spiking because our testing capacity is going up," Gov. Cuomo said, adding New Yorkers will see 1000s more cases next week.
Dr Marty Makary, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, said the current number of official coronavirus cases in the US was likely a gross under-representation of the true scale.
"Don't believe the numbers when you see, even on our Johns Hopkins website, that 1600 Americans have the virus. No, that means 1600 got the test, tested positive. There are probably 25 to 50 people who have the virus for every one person who is confirmed.
"I think we have between 50,000 and half a million cases right now walking around in the United States," he told Yahoo Finance.
SPAIN TO GO INTO LOCKDOWN
Spain is set to follow Italy in declaring a nationwide lockdown as European countries took ever more sweeping measures to reduce contact among people and slow the accelerating spread of the coronavirus.
China, meanwhile, where the virus first emerged late last year, continued to relax lockdown measures in its hardest-hit region.
According to a draft of the government order seen by The Associated Press, Spain's government planned to announce tight restrictions on movement for the nation of 46 million people while declaring a two-week state of emergency.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez was due to address the nation in the afternoon.
People will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of the young and the elderly. Those rules will take effect at 8am (6pm Monday AEDT) oon Monday.
Effectively immediately, Spain is also closing all schools, universities, restaurants, bars and hotels nationwide along with non-essential stores, a step some regions have already taken.
Health authorities in Spain said the number of coronavirus infections climbed past 5700, half of them in the capital, Madrid.
That represents a national increase of over 1500 in 24 hours.
The country had 136 deaths, up from 120.
Spain has the fifth-highest number of cases, behind China, Italy, Iran and South Korea. By Saturday, more than 145,000 infections and over 5400 deaths had been recorded worldwide.
Europe has now become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with countries imposing a cascade of restrictions in an effort to prevent their health systems from collapsing under the caseload.
Spain's measures to date, though, had fallen short of those ordered by Italy, the worst-hit European country, where the number of cases climbed to over 17,600, with 1266 deaths.
The government in Rome has ordered an unprecedented lockdown, ordering businesses to close and restricting people's movement.
Mayors of many Italian cities, including Rome and Milan, decided to close public playgrounds and parks.
Under a decree issued earlier in the week, people had been allowed in parks as long as they kept at least a distance of 1 metre between each other.
Denmark closed its borders and halted passenger traffic to and from the country, a measure that was due to run through April 13.
Travellers will be turned away at the border if they are unable to show that they have "a legitimate reason" to enter - for example, if they are Danish citizens or residents.
"I know that the overall list of measures is very extreme and will be seen as very extreme, but I am convinced that it's worth it," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.
Poland planned to close is borders at midnight and deny all foreigners entry unless they lived in Poland or had personal ties there.
Non-citizens allowed in will be quarantined for 14 days.
The Czech Republic and Slovakia took similar action.
Lithuania said it was introducing border checks at the frontiers with Poland and Latvia for 10 days and was considering banning foreigners from entering.
Russia said its land borders with Norway and Poland will be closed to most foreigners beginning on Sunday.
ITALY 'LIKE A WORLD WAR' AS DEATH TOLL SOARS
Italy recorded 250 coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period - the most in the country in a single day - as the number of COVID-19 fatalities there reached 1266, according to official data.
The country also recorded more than 2500 new cases of the virus in that period, bringing the total to more than 17,000.
A nurse in northern Italy said that fighting the virus was like being in the middle of "a world war."
Countries that are overwhelmed will have a fatality rate between three and five per cent, he said.
The reason that faster, tougher action is needed to contain the virus was that the world's health system will be unable to cope, he said.
The US did not have nearly enough hospital beds or face masks to cope with a full scale outbreak of the virus. Australia is already rationing access to the coronavirus test, trying to preserve them for those most likely to have the virus because we don't have enough tests to meet demand. And states are scrambling to source extra ventilators to keep people with severe forms of the virus alive.
Members of the public have also expressed concern that Australia was not taking tough enough action at our borders.
Travellers returning to Australia this week said they had not been approached by any border control officials to give them information about the coronavirus nor had their temperatures been tested.
ANOTHER CABINET MINISTER TESTED FOR CORONAVIRUS
A second Cabinet minister was tested for the deadly coronavirus before Peter Dutton was diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Sunday Telegraph has confirmed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg fell ill late last week after attending the G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Saudi Arabia in late February.
Mr Frydenberg said he was tested for the virus on Thursday but received a negative result on Friday morning, before fellow minister Peter Dutton returned a positive test. Both ministers attended a Cabinet meeting in Sydney on Tuesday where senior ministers agreed to a stimulus package to stave off a recession.
Late Saturday night AEST Mr Frydenberg told The Sunday Telegraph he was taking antibiotics and resting, but did not need to self isolate.
Labor has questioned why the public was told to isolate if they came into "close contact" with a coronavirus case when ministers were continuing to work. On Saturday the Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said "close contact" was defined as "face-to-face contact for at least 15 minutes" or being in the same enclosed space as someone who has tested positive for the COVID-19 for at least two hours when that person was infectious.
Despite his poor health, Mr Frydenberg will unveil a new coronavirus Business Liaison Unit to support employment and business on Sunday.
The new unit will be staffed by officials from across the public service who will provide up to date information to business groups on the Government's response to the coronavirus.
Mr Frydenberg said it would allow critical information to be disseminated quickly and effectively across the business community".
STUDY SAYS GOVERNMENTS MUST ACT HARDER AND FASTER
A new analysis suggests governments need to act faster and take even stronger action to reduce social interaction to control the coronavirus, well beyond the shutdown of large-scale events imposed from Monday.
Countries that act fast to shut down social contact can reduce the number of deaths from COVID19 by a factor of 10, Stanford University graduate Tomas Pueyo has calculated. And days and hours can make an enormous difference.
Mr Pueyo has studied the epidemiology of coronavirus by looking at case numbers in Italy, China and Europe.
The true number of cases of the virus is likely to be five times higher than official data suggests, he warns.
"Delaying action will mean in two to four weeks, when the entire world is in lockdown, when the few precious days of social distancing you will have enabled will have saved lives, people won't criticise you anymore: They will thank you for making the right decision," he warns world leaders.
Part of the problem is that the official number of cases is far lower than the true number of cases in the community he says.
When the Chinese government shut down Wuhan there were just 400 official cases but in reality there were 2500 new cases that day he found.
Two days later when China locked down 15 other cities, cases started to go down within just two days, his analysis found.
Officially case numbers in China continued to rise but these people had been infected in the week before the shut down started.
He warns Europeans have been too slow to act.
"With the number of cases we see today in countries like the US, Spain, France, Iran, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden or Switzerland, Wuhan was already in lockdown," he said.
The difference between acting quickly and acting slowly can be seen in the contrasting death rates between the Chinese province of Hubei and the rest of China, Mr Pueyo says.
"Hubei's fatality rate will probably converge towards 4.8 per cent. Meanwhile, for the rest of China, it will likely converge to 0.9 per cent".
"Iran's and Italy's Deaths / Total Cases are both converging towards the three to four per cent range. My guess is their numbers will end up around that figure too," he said.
SCIENTISTS CLOSER TO CORONAVIRUS VACCINE
A team of Canadian scientists has successfully isolated and grown copies of the coronavirus - bringing the world a step closer to finding a vaccine to fight the deadly illness.
Researchers from the Sunnybrook Research Institute, the University of Toronto, and McMaster University were able to isolate and replicate the virus in a lab using samples taken from two Canadian patients.
The lab-grown copies will now be able to help scientists study the pathogen to develop better diagnostic testing, treatments, vaccines, and gain a better understanding of its biology, the team said in a statement.
"Now that we have isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus (the agent responsible for COVID-19), we can share this with other researchers and continue this teamwork," D. Arinjay Banerjee, NSERC postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University, said.
"The more viruses that are made available in this way, the more we can learn, collaborate and share."
"We need key tools to develop solutions to this pandemic," Dr Samira Mubareka, microbiologist and infectious diseases physician at Sunnybrook, added.
"While the immediate response is crucial, longer-term solutions come from essential research into this novel virus."
Meanwhile, eight institutes in China are working on five approaches to inoculations in an effort to combat COVID-19. Chinese officials say it could result in a vaccine ready for emergency situations and clinical trials next month.
BAZ LUHRMANN GOES INTO SELF-ISOLATION
Baz Luhrmann has revealed he has gone into isolation after Tom Hanks and his wife were diagnosed with coronavirus on his film set in Queensland.
The Australian film director, whose movie on Elvis was stalled while in pre-production on the Gold Coast, said he was in isolation for 10 days.
Hanks and wife Rita Wilson contracted the virus this week.
Luhrmann took to social media to thank Queensland Health for their "tremendous support".
He said he and his family were "healthy and well".
APPLE TO CLOSE FOR TWO WEEKS
It comes as Apple stores around the world are set to close their doors for two weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The technology giant announced all retail stores outside of Greater China will shut until March 27 to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said he firstly wanted to recognise Apple's family in Greater China.
"Though the rate of infections has dramatically declined, we know COVID-19's effects are still being strongly felt," he said.
"As of today, all of our stores in Greater China have reopened."
Mr Cook went on to say the best way to minimise the risk of the virus spreading further was to "reduce density and maximise social distance".
Apple will allow for flexible work arrangements for office workers worldwide with deep cleaning, health screenings and temperature checks occurring at office sites.
Retail workers will continue to receive payment in alignment with business and usual operations by expanding leave policies and accommodating for families affected by COVID-19.
Furthermore, Apple will donate US$15 million ($A24 million) to help treat those affected by the pandemic at a community and economic level.
ARDERN'S TOUGHEST BORDER MEASURES TO STOP VIRUS
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is taking the world's toughest border security measures to stop the coronavirus from spreading, after she declared all international arrivals - including returning Kiwis - must self-isolate for a fortnight as the country locks down to ward off the spread of coronavirus.
Ms Ardern announced the measure on Saturday after an emergency meeting of cabinet.
"We do not take these decisions lightly," she said.
"New Zealand will have the widest-ranging and toughest border restrictions of anyone in the world." Ms Ardern said the measure applied to people, and not goods, though gave an exemption to people arriving from the Pacific - a region largely devoid of the virus.
The decisions will take effect as of midnight NZDT on Sunday. New Zealand has just six cases of the disease to date, and none that have been transmitted through the community.
Ms Ardern also announced cruise ships would not be allowed to dock in New Zealand until June.
The decision will be reviewed in 16 days.
To illustrate her point, she used a graphic that has gone viral around the world which explains how we can reduce the spread of the virus.
The graphic, titled 'Flatten the curve' explains the need for social distancing measures as confusion about the seriousness of the virus grows.
Earlier on Saturday, the government announced the cancellation of a national remembrance service in honour of the Christchurch mosque attacks, which took place on March 15 last year.
The immediate status of NRL season faces fresh fears following the New Zealand government's decision to force all international arrivals to self-quarantine for a fortnight beginning midnight on Sunday (NZT).
The development has prompted the Warriors, who are currently in NSW facing Newcastle in their season-opener, to hold emergency talks with NRL officials at 5pm on Saturday afternoon (AEDT).
"Cameron George (CEO) says the club is awaiting more details about travel restrictions just announced by the Government in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic," the Warriors said in a statement on Saturday.
Australia's one-day international series against New Zealand has also been abandoned after the New Zealanders had to rush home due to coronavirus precautions.
The New Zealand government announced Saturday that all incoming passengers would be subject to a 14-day quarantine, from midnight Sunday.
"A consequence of this is that we need to get our team back to New Zealand before the restriction is imposed, meaning it will not be able to participate in the two remaining Chappell-Hadlee fixtures," a New Zealand Cricket spokesman said.
Australia won the first match on Friday at the Sydney Cricket Ground by 71 runs, with no spectators in the stadium. The second match was set for Sunday, also at the SCG, and the third next Friday in Hobart.
The teams were scheduled to play three Twenty20s against each other in New Zealand, starting from March 24, but those have also been called off. "NZC believes both these series can be replayed in their entirety at a later and more appropriate date," the spokesman said. "NZC understands and supports the government's position. This is a time of unprecedented risk and peril, and the personal health and wellbeing of our players is paramount."
WE'VE BEEN TESTED, WHY NOT SCOMO?
A well known Queensland lawyer Deb Kilroy has revealed she and her friend were on the same plane as Peter Dutton and have had tests for coronavirus. She took to Twitter asking why she's also had to be quarantined, unlike others including the Prime Minister, who are not being tested at all.
We were on the same plane as Peter Dutton so we had to be tested for #COVID19Aus today when we arrived back in the country & now we have been quarantined until our tests are back WTF Why hasn’t @ScottMorrisonMP & others been quarantined & we have? #auspol #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/VIaPfVlK7P— Debbie Kilroy (@DebKilroy) March 14, 2020
CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES SUSPENDS OPERATIONS
The nation's biggest cruise ship company has announced it will suspend operations across Australian-based ships for at least a month in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Carnival Cruise Line on Saturday announced it would suspend operations across Australian-based ships until at least April 13.
Two ships currently at sea will continue their voyages before returning to Sydney as scheduled.
SECOND NEWBORN TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS
Another newborn has tested positive for the coronavirus, marking what appears to be the second such case as the pandemic worsens.
The London infant's mother was rushed to a local hospital days before giving birth over fears she had contracted pneumonia, The Sun reported on Friday local time.
Her coronavirus test came back positive only after she had given birth; her baby was tested minutes later.
They are being treated at separate hospitals as health care professionals investigate whether the baby contracted the illness while in the womb or after birth, the outlet said.
Back in early February, another infected mother in China gave birth to a baby who was also confirmed to be infected, the BBC reported at the time.
And a very young child, an 18-month-old boy in Hong Kong, has also tested positive for the virus after both parents had tested positive, according to a report released on Thursday.