As several aides of US President Donald Trump self-quarantine, the White House has insisted that the president is in the all clear.
Several lawmakers in Trump’s inner circle have been in close proximity to someone with the deadly coronavirus, including his new chief of staff Mark Meadows.
What’s more, two of Trump’s aides have had direct contact with the president.
Trump, who flew back to Washington after a weekend golfing at his Florida resort and having dinner with Brazil’s right-wing president, has spent weeks dismissing the seriousness of the threat.
But a dramatic run on stock market prices on Monday robbed him of one of his main talking points when touting his successes ahead of the November presidential election. The Dow Jones closed 7.8% lower in the worst session since 2008.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has announced sweeping new travel restrictions on Europe in a bid to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
In a televised address, he said travel from 26 European countries would be suspended for the next 30 days.
But he said the “strong but necessary” restrictions would not apply to the UK, where 460 cases of the virus have now been confirmed.
There are 1,135 confirmed cases of the virus across the US, with 38 deaths.
“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe,” Mr Trump said from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening.
“The new rules will go into effect Friday at midnight,” he added. The travel order does not apply to US citizens.
Mr Trump said the European Union had “failed to take the same precautions” as the US in fighting the virus.
A Presidential Proclamation, published shortly after Mr Trump’s speech, specified that the ban applies to anyone who has been in the EU’s Schengen border-free area within 14 days prior to their arrival in the US.
This implies that Ireland is excluded from the ban as it is not one of the 26 Schengen countries. Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania are also EU members without being part of the Schengen area.
Mr Trump spoke just hours after Italy – the worst affected country outside China – announced tough new restrictions on its citizens. It will close all shops except food stores and pharmacies as part of its nationwide lockdown.
He said the travel suspension would also “apply to the tremendous amount of trade and cargo” coming from Europe into the US. But he later tweeted to say that “trade will in no way be affected” by the new measures.