Donald Trump failed to acknowledge reporters asking whether the US President has been tested for coronavirus coming into contact with a person now in self-quarantine. President Trump last week flew on Air Force One with Representative Matt Gaetz who later announced he would self-isolate after being informed he was exposed to a patient with COVID-19. The US President walked out of a packed press conference at the White House after updating Americans on the state of US response to coronavirus once reporters began asking whether he was tested for the virus.
Several Republican figures across the US have agreed to self-isolate after a person diagnosed with COVID-19 was discovered to have attended the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) President Trump spoke at last month.
Four congressmen are now under quarantine at home, including former Presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Rep Gaetz was pictured driving with the President in his limousine as the pair left Florida on Monday and they later travelled together on Air Force One back to Washington D.C.
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham insisted Mr Trump does not need to be tested as he “has neither had prolonged contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients nor does he have any symptoms.
Ms Grisham added: “President Trump remains in excellent health and his physician will continue to closely monitor him.
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Vice-President Mike Pence, who also attended the CPAC conference and is in charge of the US response effort to coronavirus, also said he has not been tested for COVID-19.
Speaking to CNN, Dr Celine Gounder insisted not testing the President for coronavirus was not strange because only direct contact is usually examined.
Dr Gounder said: “To be fair, the norm would be you would test the direct contact, so the person who actually shook hands with the person with coronavirus.
“You would only test the President and others if their direct contacts were testing positive. Now the exception to that would be if the President or others developed symptoms, then you would probably go ahead and test.”
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Rep Gaetz submitted to testing on Monday after announcing he would self-quarantine as a precaution.
Staff members for the Republican congressman wrote on his Twitter account: “While the congressman is not experiencing symptoms, he received testing today and expects results soon.
“Under doctor’s usual precautionary recommendations, he’ll remain self-quarantined until the 14-day period expires this week.”
President Trump originally dismissed the gravity of the coronavirus epidemic, suggesting during a two-day visit to India the virus would “go away.”
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Writing on Twitter on Monday, President Trump said: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year.
“Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!”
At least 755 people across the United States have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past three weeks, with coronavirus cases jumping to 15 in Florida where two people have already died because of the virus.
The death toll in the US currently stands at 26.
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