Coronavirus Live Updates: Brazilian Official Who Met With Trump Tests Positive

Here’s what you need to know:

Credit…T.J. Kirkpatrick for The New York Times

A senior Brazilian government official who visited Mar-a-Lago days ago, and was in close proximity to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, has tested positive for the new coronavirus, Brazil’s government confirmed on Thursday.

Fábio Wajngarten, President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications chief, was at Mar-a-Lago, Mr. Trump’s oceanfront resort in Florida, as part of Brazilian government delegation. Members of that group dined with Mr. Trump on Saturday.

In a statement, Mr. Bolsonaro’s office said it was “adopting all the necessary preventive measures to preserve the health of the president and the delegation that accompanied him on the recent official trip to the United States,” and had informed U.S. officials so they could take “appropriate cautionary measures.”

It said that Mr. Wajngarten tested positive in two separate tests after returning home with flu-like symptoms.

Mr. Bolsonaro was being tested for the virus, and results were expected on Friday.

Over the weekend Mr. Wajngarten posted a photo on his Instagram account posing shoulder-to-shoulder with Mr. Trump, who appears smiling and holding a baseball cap with the words “Make Brazil Great Again.” It was not clear when the photo, which includes Mr. Pence, was taken.

Among those at the dinner on Saturday were Mr. Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, both presidential aides. The following day Mr. Bolsonaro and his delegation visited the headquarters of the U.S. military’s Southern Command in Doral, Fla., where the Brazilian president met with the commander, Adm. Craig Faller.

Mr. Trump was asked at a news conference about Mr. Wajngarten and said, “I’m not concerned.”

Senator Rick Scott, Republican of Florida, who met with Mr. Bolsonaro in Miami earlier this week, said he would put himself in isolation as a precautionary measure. He added that said he did not think he had interacted with Mr. Bolsonaro’s aide and does not have any symptoms.

As of Thursday, Brazil had at least 73 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 930 suspected cases.

On both sides of the Atlantic on Thursday, the consequences of President Trump’s decision to ban most travel from Europe began to be felt economically, politically and socially.

European Union leaders issued a scathing statement condemning the move even as many nations on the Continent moved to tighten their own restrictions on the movement of people.

“The coronavirus is a global crisis, not limited to any continent and it requires cooperation rather than unilateral action,” it said. “The European Union disapproves of the fact that the U.S. decision to impose a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation.”

Mr. Trump said on Wednesday night that he was suspending most travel from Europe for 30 days, beginning on Friday, and imposed a 30-day ban on foreigners who in the previous two weeks have been in the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area.

The limits will exempt American citizens and permanent legal residents and their families.

Italy’s government reported more than 15,000 infections through Thursday, a jump of more than 2,000, and more than 1,000 deaths, up almost 200. With the worst outbreak outside of China, Italy is under a national lockdown.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, is expected to address his country in a televised statement on Thursday evening.

Within the European Union, the Czech Republic on Thursday joined other nations in announcing new border checkpoints.

Outside Europe, the fight against the virus also gained intensity, with India joining the growing list of countries imposing drastic travel limits. The Philippine government halted domestic travel in and out of the capital, Manila.

In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said that his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, had been tested after developing flu-like symptoms, and was in isolation. Mr. Trudeau was exhibiting no symptoms himself, it said, but had decided to work from home until receiving his wife’s results.

Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday that thousands more cases of coronavirus were expected in the United States, and that Americans returning from Europe would need to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

“We know there will be thousands of more cases of coronavirus,” Mr. Pence said on NBC’s “Today” show. Asked whether it could be millions, he declined to answer, saying, “I’ll leave to the experts to make the estimates of how many people will be infected.”

Speaking hours after President Trump announced a travel ban from most European countries, Mr. Pence offered more details on the plan during appearances on several morning television shows.

Americans returning from the affected area of Europe in the next 30 days, he said, would be “funneled through 13 airports.”

The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement after Mr. Trump’s remarks clarifying that the ban did not “apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation.”

The president had appeared to suggest that the ban would extend to cargo shipments, but later tweeted that the ban would not affect shipments. He also said there would be “exemptions for Americans who have undergone appropriate screenings.”

“Please remember, very important for all countries & businesses to know that trade will in no way be affected by the 30-day restriction on travel from Europe,” Mr. Trump tweeted late Wednesday. “The restriction stops people not goods.”

In his address, the president broke from the business-as-usual attitude he had tried to project, calling the virus a “horrible infection,” but still seemed to anticipate a quick end to the crisis. And some of the basic scientific information he conveyed was wrong.

“We are making antiviral treatments available in record time,” he said — but there are no approved antiviral treatments for coronavirus.

Mr. Pence was asked on CNN about the confusion. “I don’t think there was any confusion,” he said.

If the virus had seemed a distant threat to many Americans, news that the actor Tom Hanks had tested positive seemed to shake that notion. And the steady drumbeat of bad news from Wall Street only heightened anxiety.

California has become the latest state to impose new measures aimed at containing the virus, telling residents to postpone or cancel gatherings of more than 250 people, including sports events, conferences and concerts, through the end of March.

The new guidelines also advised against gatherings in smaller venues, such as auditoriums, that don’t allow for 6 feet of distance between people. Groups of high-risk people, such as those in retirement or assisted-living facilities, should be limited to no more than 10 people, officials said.

Delays in testing have made it difficult to get a full sense of scale of the outbreak, but the epidemic is increasingly altering American life, and state, local and private institutions are taking matters into their own hands. They have declared states of emergency, closed schools and churches, and ordered thousands of people with potential exposure into isolation.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, which has been hit hard by the virus, said that people should no longer sit shoulder-to-shoulder in local bars, as such socializing has become “totally unacceptable” amid the global pandemic. He also banned public gatherings of 250 people or more in three counties in the Seattle area.

In Ohio, the governor said a ban on large events was imminent. San Francisco’s mayor banned group events of more than 1,000 people.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle suspended all public celebration of Mass, becoming the first Catholic archdiocese in the country to do so. Episcopal bishops in Virginia and Washington, D.C., said that churches in their dioceses would close for two weeks.

Many colleges have moved classes online and in some cases directed students to not return after spring break.

As of early Thursday, about 1,300 people in 44 states and Washington, D.C., had tested positive and 37 people had died, most of them in Washington State. Diagnosed cases in three states — Washington, New York and California — account for more than 60 percent of the U.S. outbreak.

In New Rochelle, N.Y., National Guard troops have begun delivering food for school lunches and helping clean and sanitize public facilities and buildings.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said he planned to issue rules limiting large crowds, but did not plan to shut down the subway system, public schools or Broadway theater.

“I don’t want to see Broadway go dark if we can avoid it,” he said. “I want to see if we can strike some kind of balance.”

U.S. stock prices fell 7 percent within minutes of the market opening on Thursday, setting off a 15-minute pause in trading for the second time in a week, and European stocks also plunged as investors digested the consequences of President Trump’s 30-day travel ban on European visitors to the United States.

The drop put stocks firmly into bear market territory, defined as a decline of 20 percent or more from the peak. On Wednesday, the S&P 500 index closed more than 19 percent below the record high set last month, while the Dow Jones industrial average crossed the 20 percent threshold.

Airline stocks in particular were getting battered: United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines were all down 11 to 15 percent in early trading on Thursday.

By mid-afternoon in Europe, major indexes there were down more than 9 percent.

The declines follow a spate of late news from the United States on Wednesday, including President Trump’s announcement that the United States would stop most Europeans from traveling to the country for 30 days and a State Department advisory that Americans should reconsider all international travel.

The N.B.A. suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive; on Thursday, the Jazz reported that a second player had also tested positive.

With global growth on the line, investors have been looking for world leaders to step in to keep the economic gears turning. Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that he would extend financial relief for sick workers and ask Congress for more. Central banks are also cutting interest rates.

A passenger on a JetBlue flight from New York to West Palm Beach, Fla., on Wednesday night learned midair that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, raising questions about possible widespread exposure.

The passenger, who had previously been tested for the virus and was awaiting results, got a notification toward the end of the flight that the test had come back positive, JetBlue said on Thursday. He was overheard talking about it, and the flight crew quickly notified health officials on the ground.

The flight, which departed from Kennedy International Airport with 114 people on board, landed at Palm Beach International Airport around 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Medical workers rushed to the airport shortly after, officials said.

“JetBlue had no prior indication that this customer had or may have had coronavirus,” the airline said in a statement. Both airports and the airplane were being cleaned.

The New York Times is providing free access to our most important updates and most useful guidance on the global coronavirus crisis.

In a move to protect both tourists and lawmakers from the coronavirus, Congress’s visitor center will shutter the Capitol to visitors until April.

“We are taking this temporary action out of concern for the health and safety of congressional employees as well as the public,” the House and Senate sergeants at arms said in a statement on Thursday.

The decision follows guidance from Congress’s attending physician that lawmakers — many of whom, as older Americans, are at higher risk from the virus — avoid attending large group meetings and shaking hands with visitors.

Greek pilgrims on a tour of the Holy Land. American tourists who took a cruise on the Nile. A Tunisian who attended a soccer game in Cairo.

At least 102 people who traveled in Egypt last month have tested positive for the coronavirus after returning to their home countries, stoking fears of a much wider outbreak in the Arab world’s most populous country than had previously been calculated.

Egypt has declared 67 coronavirus cases, and officials insist that it is still safe for tourists to come to the country. “Thank God, Egypt is one of the least affected countries,” Tourism Minister Khaled el-Enany told reporters in Cairo on Tuesday.

Egyptian officials say that the country’s outbreak is concentrated on a cruise ship on the Nile, on which 45 people were infected, that has been quarantined since Friday. But the high number of people who have tested positive after leaving Egypt suggests that the virus has spread to other parts of the country.

Outside Iran, the highest number of reported cases in the Middle East are in countries like Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq, which have declared about 500 cases between them.

The number in Qatar jumped to 262 from 24 on Wednesday amid fears that the virus will spread in the packed camps for construction workers who are building soccer stadiums for the 2022 men’s soccer World Cup.

Relatively little is known about the spread of the virus in some of the region’s most vulnerable war-torn corners, such as Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Here are tips for stocking your pantry in ways that are practical and delicious; answers to some common questions about travel, and steps to take when talking to an anxious teen about coronavirus.

Across Europe on Thursday, Americans scrambled to make sense of conflicting messages from Washington about if and when they would be allowed to return to the United States.

David Barreres of Toms River, N.J., who was visiting Spain, was awakened just before 4 a.m. by frantic messages from friends after President Trump announced a ban on most travelers from Europe for the next 30 days.

As Mr. Barreres and his wife began looking for flights, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a statement contradicting the president, saying that the rules did not apply to American citizens.

Unsure of what to believe, Mr. Barreres called travel agents, his airline and the U.S. embassy, but he could not get anyone on the phone who could clarify the situation. As of Thursday morning, he said he planned to go to the embassy in person to find out “if we’ll be able to get back to my four daughters that are in the care of their grandmother.”

After the president’s speech, officials suggested the 30-day ban applied only to foreign nationals who had been in the 26 countries that make up the European Union’s Schengen Area in the previous two weeks. The limits take effect Friday at midnight and will exempt American citizens and permanent legal residents and their families.

The House is set to vote on Thursday on a sweeping aid package for people affected by the coronavirus, with a measure that would establish a national paid leave program, expand food assistance, offer free coronavirus testing and bolster unemployment insurance.

The proposal also includes $500 million to provide assistance to low-income pregnant women and some mothers who are laid off because of the outbreak; $400 million to assist food banks; and $250 million to deliver packaged meals to low-income seniors.

The package, unveiled late Wednesday night, calls for the development of a standard for health workers’ safety and establishes a mandate for paid sick days in the case of public health emergencies like the coronavirus outbreak.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, said the measures “focused directly on providing support for America’s families, who must be our first priority in this emergency.”

Although it is expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House, it is unclear whether President Trump will embrace it. In a televised address from the Oval Office on Wednesday night, he said he would take “unprecedented” action to provide financial relief “for workers who are ill, quarantined or caring for others due to coronavirus,” but the White House did not elaborate on the details.

The main thrust of Mr. Trump’s economic rescue plan, a huge payroll tax cut, has drawn skepticism from members of both parties.

Republican congressional aides said late Wednesday that the Democrats’ bill appeared to contain several “poison pills” that would make it difficult for them to support it. And the top House Republican called it ineffective and too expensive.

“If the Democrats try to move what they’re trying to do, I don’t know that that will help the economy,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California and the House minority leader, said in an interview on Fox News. “It’ll just cost us so much more money.”

The Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks said on Wednesday night that he and his wife, Rita Wilson, had tested positive for the coronavirus. Mr. Hanks, 63, is one of the highest-profile celebrities to contract the virus that has spread throughout the globe.

Mr. Hanks, who is in Australia to film a movie about the life of Elvis Presley, said in a statement that he and Ms. Wilson, also an actor, had been tested after feeling tired with body aches and feverish temperatures. The couple will remain isolated for as long as public health requires, Mr. Hanks said.

“Not much more to it than a one-day-at-a-time approach, no?” he said in the statement, which was accompanied by a photograph of a lone medical glove in a hazardous-waste container.

Mr. Hanks is playing the role of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s eccentric manager, who groomed the famous singer to stardom in the 1950s. Production on the film, which is being directed by Baz Luhrmann, is set to begin filming on Monday.

Australia had more than 120 cases confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Wednesday.

At a news conference, Annastacia Palaszczuk, the premier of Queensland, said those who had been contact with the couple for more than 15 minutes would need to self isolate. “So a selfie,” she said, “wouldn’t count.”

“What this signals is that this coronavirus can happen to anyone,” she added.

China has passed the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, a spokesman for the country’s health ministry said on Thursday. The new virus first emerged in China late last year, and the country has recorded about two-thirds of the cases worldwide, though its new cases have dropped sharply in recent days.

On Thursday, China said it had just 15 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths over the previous day. Eight of the infections were in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the epidemic first spread, and six were diagnosed among travelers arriving from abroad. China’s total count of confirmed infections is 80,793, including 3,169 deaths.

“The peak of the current round of epidemic in China has already passed, the number of new cases continue to decline, and the overall epidemic situation has generally been maintained at a low level,” said Mi Feng, the health ministry spokesman.

He added that the country should not ease its aggressive approach to controlling the outbreak. “We must make medical treatment the top priority and not grow apathetic, war weary or relaxed,” Mr. Mi said.

Beijing on Thursday also reacted with anger at comments from Robert O’Brien, the White House national security adviser, who said China’s cover-up of the initial outbreak cost the international community “two months to respond.”

Geng Shuang, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, said American officials should concentrate on cooperating on the fight against the virus “rather than blame China and vilify the Chinese government and people’s efforts to fight the epidemic.”

Reporting was contributed by Peter Baker, Elisabetta Povoledo, Steven Erlanger, Alissa J. Rubin, Alexandra Stevenson, Daniel Victor, Austin Ramzy, Russell Goldman, Livia Albeck-Ripka, Albee Zhang, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Daniel Victor, Sui-Lee Wee, Annie Karni, Marc Santora, Megan Specia, Declan Walsh, Vindu Goel, Elian Peltier, Jason Horowitz, Emma Bubola, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Jorge Arangure, Matthew Futterman, Elaine Yu, Amy Qin, Alan Rappeport, Emily Cochrane, Karen Zraick, Sandra E. Garcia, Scott Cacciola, Sopan Deb, Brooks Barnes, Noah Weiland, Sheri Fink, Mike Baker, Monika Pronczuk, Melissa Eddy, Roni Caryn Rabin, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Andrew Keh, Ernesto Londoño, Aurelien Breeden and Katie Thomas.

View original article here Source

Related Posts