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Trump announces new travel restrictions as first death from Covid-19 confirmed in US

Yesterday, the US President denounced criticism of his response to the threat as a “hoax” cooked up by his political enemies.

The US President flanked by Vice President Mike Pence at a press conference this evening.
The US President flanked by Vice President Mike Pence at a press conference this evening.
Image: Andrew Harnik/PA Images

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said that despite the first death on US soil from the new coronavirus, the threat to Americans remained low and there was no reason for “panic”.

Trump confirmed that the first fatality, announced by officials in Washington state, was a woman in her late 50s. She lived in King county, which includes Seattle, local officials said.

“Additional cases in the United States are likely,” Trump told a White House news conference, adding that “healthy individuals should be able to fully recover”.

“Our country is prepared for any circumstance,” Trump insisted, calling on “the media and politicians and everybody else involved not to do anything to incite panic”.

The Republican leader and other officials also announced a more complete ban on travel from Iran, which has seen a rapid spread of the disease, and encouraged Americans to avoid travel to hard-hit areas in Italy and South Korea.

Vice President Mike Pence, charged by Trump to lead efforts against the virus, said that an existing ban on travel from Iran had been expanded to include any foreign national who has visited the Islamic republic within the last 14 days.

Trump said he would meet with leaders of big pharmaceutical groups at the White House on Monday to discuss treatments and efforts to develop a vaccine to combat the virus.

He was speaking a day after he denounced criticism of his response to the threat as a “hoax” cooked up by his political enemies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 people are infected with the disease in the United States – the majority of them passengers from the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship.

An American citizen died of the new coronavirus in early February at the Chinese epicenter of the global outbreak, the city of Wuhan, the US embassy confirmed at the time.

Worldwide, the virus has hit 59 countries across the globe, with more than 2,900 people killed and over 85,000 infected since it was first detected at an animal market in Wuhan late last year.

© – AFP 2020

With reporting from the Press Association

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