Coronavirus Live Updates: Trump Says Some Domestic Travel Could Be Curtailed, and Senate Cancels Recess

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Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump said on Thursday that he could restrict domestic travel to regions of the United States where the coronavirus becomes “too hot.”

Asked by a reporter in the Oval Office whether he was considering limits on travel inside the country to hard-hit states like Washington or California, Mr. Trump said the subject had not yet been discussed, before adding: “Is it a possibility? Yes, if somebody gets a little bit out of control, if an area gets too hot.”

He did not elaborate, except to say that a containment zone New York state had imposed around the city of New Rochelle was “good.”

The president also said that he is canceling or deferring several political events in the coming weeks.

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

But Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence will not be tested, according to the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham. “Both the president and vice president had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive,” she said in a statement.

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.

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.

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.

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, is already in quarantine because of another encounter with an infected person at a conservative conference near Washington. Several House Republicans also self-isolated after meeting the same individual. Without Mr. Cruz or Mr. Scott voting, Republicans will functionally now have a narrower majority in the Senate.

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

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the majority leader, canceled a recess that had been planned for next week, as House Democrats and the administration continued to negotiate a deal on a sweeping coronavirus relief package.

The package, unveiled by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, and her lieutenants on Wednesday night, would provide food security assistance, a substantial national paid sick leave program, free coronavirus testing and strengthened unemployment benefits.

“I am glad talks are ongoing between the administration and Speaker Pelosi,” Mr. McConnell said on Twitter. “I hope Congress can pass bipartisan legislation to continue combating the coronavirus and keep our economy strong.”

Senators from both parties had pushed to scrap the recess, which would have begun in effect Thursday afternoon, when senators typically leave for the week to return to their home states. Frustrated with the Democrats’ package and aware of the urgency to respond to the pandemic, senators had begun pushing to stay in Washington to work out a bipartisan compromise.

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 Europe’s Schengen Area.

The limits will exempt American citizens, 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. With the worst outbreak outside of China, Italy is under a national lockdown.

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

Containment efforts also gained intensity outside Europe, 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, but decided to work from home until receiving his wife’s results.

Stocks fell sharply again on Thursday, as Mr. Trump’s latest effort to address the coronavirus outbreak — a ban on the entry of most Europeans to the United States — failed to assuage investors’ concerns about the global economy.

The recovered slightly after the Federal Reserve Bank said it would offer at least $1.5 trillion worth of short-term loans to banks today and tomorrow. But then the decline resumed, with the S&P 500 index down almost 8 percent by mid-afternoon.

Waves of selling in stocks this week have left the Dow Jones industrial average and several major global benchmarks in bear market territory — a term that signifies stocks have fallen more than 20 percent from their highs. Without a substantial recovery on Thursday, the S&P 500 will end there as well.

The travel ban hit shares in Europe particularly hard, with major stock indexes there down more than 10 percent and one regional benchmark suffering its worst-ever decline.

One of the country’s top health officials said that the government’s coronavirus testing methods were inadequate in testimony on Capitol Hill on Thursday.

Speaking at a House committee hearing on coronavirus testing, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fielded pointed questions about rising frustration over a lack of testing kits across the country.

“The system does not, is not really geared to what we need right now, what you are asking for,” Dr. Fauci said. “That is a failing. It is a failing, let’s admit it.”

Dr. Fauci had stepped in to respond to a question, from Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, to Dr. Redfield about who was ultimately responsible for overseeing testing.

“The idea of anybody getting it, easily, the way people in other countries are doing it, we are not set up for that,” Dr. Fauci added. “Do I think we should be? Yes. But we are not.”

Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday that thousands more cases of coronavirus were expected in the United States.

“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.”

At another point in the testimony, Dr. Redfield told Representative Katie Porter that he would commit to making coronavirus testing available for Americans, regardless of insurance.

Congressional Democrats have made free testing a pillar of a coronavirus relief package that lawmakers are rushing to pass this week, as patients who have been tested for the virus complained of thousands of dollars in medical bills.

Some states have stepped in to promise coverage: Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York said this week that he would require state health insurers to waive the cost sharing associated with coronavirus testing. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has said that states will have to decide whether to cover the costs of virus testing for Medicaid recipients.

New York will ban most gatherings of more than 500 people, including at Broadway shows, and restrict smaller groups in an extraordinary step to fight the growing outbreak in the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Thursday.

The restrictions are expected to have a profound impact on the city’s cultural institutions, including theater, a multibillion dollar industry at the heart of New York’s tourist trade. The ban will take effect at 5 p.m. Thursday for Broadway theaters and will go into effect for other venues on Friday at 5 p.m., Mr. Cuomo said.

California joined other states in imposing new measures aimed at containing the virus, telling residents to postpone or cancel gatherings of more than 250 people through the end of March. It also advised against gatherings in smaller venues that don’t allow for 6 feet between people. Gatherings of high-risk people, like those in retirement homes, should be 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.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State said that people should no longer sit shoulder-to-shoulder in bars, and he 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.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle became the first in the country to suspend public celebration of Mass. 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 some have directed students to not return after spring break.

As of Thursday afternoon, more than 1320 people nationwide had tested positive and 38 had died, most of them in Washington State. But the true prevalence is unknown, because testing has been limited.

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 appearances on several morning television shows on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence offered more details about the travel restrictions President Trump announced the night before.

Americans returning from the affected area of Europe in the next 30 days, he said, would be “funneled through 13 airports” and would be required to self-quarantine for two weeks.

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.”

“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.

One by one, sporting events have been canceled, museums shuttered, movie premieres delayed and conferences and concerts disbanded in a global push to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, N.B.A. suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, and a second Jazz player tested positive on Thursday. The N.H.L. and Major League Soccer followed by announcing pauses to their seasons.

Most N.H.L. teams have about a dozen games left in the regular season, with the Stanley Cup playoffs scheduled to begin in about a month. “It’s the right thing to do but obviously it stinks,” Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov said in a telephone interview.

In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced on Thursday that it would temporarily close its three locations, including its Fifth Avenue flagship. The sprawling music, tech and film festival in Austin, South by Southwest, was canceled and the giant Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which takes place in the picturesque desert of Southern California, was postponed until October.

Congress’s visitor center will shutter the Capitol to visitors until April, and the Supreme Court building is closing until further notice.

Ireland’s government canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades, including Dublin’s. (Boston, which has a robust Irish-American population, also canceled its parade; Manhattan’s was postponed.) Several places in Germany, including Berlin, closed all state theaters, concert halls and opera houses.

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.

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.”

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, Michael Crowley, Patricia Mazzei, Nicholas Fandos, Kevin Draper, Mihir Zaveri, Katie Robertson, Elian Peltier, Jason Horowitz, Emma Bubola, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Emily Cochrane, Adam Liptak, 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, Katie Thomas, Richard Pérez-Peña and Dagny Salas.

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