Several of Donald Trump’s political inner circle have self-quarantined after they came into contact with a man later diagnosed with the disease. The White House insists Mr Trump doesn’t need a coronavirus test, despite the president having been in close proximity of those currently under self-isolation.
Among those included: Matt Gaetz, Doug Collins, Ted Cruz, Paul Gosar, and Mark Meadow.
Mr Gaetz recently travelled with the president in “The Beast” limousine, later boarding a flight on Air Force One together, flying from Orlando to Washington on Monday.
The Florida representative was informed while en route that he had previously come into contact with a virus carrier at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland last month.
A message posted to Mr Gaetz’s Twitter account read: “While the congressman is not experiencing symptoms, he received testing today and expects results soon.”
Meanwhile, Mr Collins, Georgia’s representative, greeted Mr Trump with a handshake at an airport in Atlanta on Friday.
This was before the two visited the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters for an update on coronavirus.
Mr Collins subsequently learned that he had also been potentially exposed at the conservative conference.
In a statement, White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said the president has not yet been tested for the virus because “he has neither had prolonged close contact with any known confirmed COVID-19 patients, nor does he have any symptoms.”
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She added: “President Trump remains in excellent health, and his physician will continue to closely monitor him.”
Mr Pence, the vice president, who was also at the conference, revealed he had not been tested either.
Mr Cruz and Mr Gosar said they had came into contact with an infected man and were self-quarantining as a precaution.
All representatives and senators came into contact with the same man at the conference.
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Dr Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist, told CNN that protocols on testing for the President and vice president were not surprising.
She 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.”
Mr Trump has been seen shaking hands with several well-wishers and supporters, including at a fundraiser at his Mar-a-LAgo resort.
The virus has hit at a time pivotal to the US, as the Democratic primaries get underway for the presidential election later this year.
Attention has focused on the three men left vying for the White House, and their being in their mid-to-late 70s – a group that is particularly at risk from the virus.
Bernie Sanders, a Democrat leader hopeful, said his campaign is in touch with local officials about disease prevention before rallies while on the campaign trail.
He told CNN about his precautions and preparations as he jets around the country in an attempt to win enough votes to secure his place.
He said: “I have used more hand sanitiser in the last two weeks than I’ve used in my entire life.”
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