US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference on the COVID-19, coronavirus, outbreak at the White House in Washington, DC on February 29, 2020.
The number of novel coronavirus cases in the world rose to 85,919, including 2,941 deaths, across 61 countries and territories by 1700 GMT on Saturday, according to a report gathered by AFP from official sources. (Photo by Roberto SCHMIDT / AFP)
President Donald Trump said Saturday 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.