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President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference about the coronavirus in the James Brady Briefing Room at the White House, Saturday, March 14, 2020. (Photo: AP)
|"Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding COVID-19 testing, he elected to proceed," according to the statement about the results released by press secretary Stephanie Grisham with Trump's permission. "One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free. I have been in daily contact with the CDC and White House Coronavirus Task Force, and we are encouraging the implementation of all their best practices for exposure reduction and transmission mitigation. |
Trump said Saturday he had also had his temperature taken Saturday before entering the White House briefing room. The President told reporters that his temperature was normal.
On Thursday, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that both Trump and Pence "had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time." However, two Senate Republicans, South Carolina's Lindsey Graham and Florida's Rick Scott, said they would both self-quarantine following exposure to members of the Brazilian delegation.
On Friday, it was reported that at least one additional member of the Brazilian delegation that visited Mar-a-Lago also tested positive for the coronavirus: Chargé d'Affaires Nestor Forster.
Concerns about the president's potential exposure only grew after he was seen shaking hands with multiple chief executives at a press conference Friday in the Rose Garden.
Just a few hours after the press conference, Conley issued a letter saying that the President "remains without symptoms, testing for COVID-19 is not currently indicated”.
In telling reporters on Saturday that he had been tested, Trump said he was not motivated by his interactions with the Brazilian officials, but took the test "only because the press is going crazy."
"I decided I should based on the press conference yesterday," Trump said. "People were asking, did I take the test".
The press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and Brazil's chargé d'affaires in Washington both tested positive for coronavirus this week, days after they met with Trump at Mar-a-Lago in Florida.
On Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence also announced all travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland has been suspended for certain foreign nationals, effective midnight on Monday. This will not apply to US citizens.
The same exclusions that are a part of the already existing European travel restrictions will also apply to the UK and Ireland.
Pence also said that he has not yet been tested for coronavirus but he "would be more than happy to be tested."
The White House on Saturday said it would begin conducting temperature checks on individuals who come in close contact with Trump and Pence. Before the briefing Saturday, the White House task force and members of the press had their temperatures taken. One person who was tested registered a temperature of 99.9 degrees and was turned away from the briefing.
"We have not reached our peak," in terms of novel coronavirus cases in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, said in the White House briefing room Saturday, adding that there will be more cases and more deaths, primarily among vulnerable older individuals.
|After Trump revealed he had been tested, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force explained what it means when a test comes back negative. |
"When you get a negative test, that means you're negative that day, said Dr. Deborah Birx, the task force coordinator. "That doesn't mean that you couldn't get the virus spreading overnight, because it replicates in your nose and your nasal secretions, and you would have a positive test tomorrow."
She added: "If you have a negative test, that doesn't mean that you can discontinue precautions. It doesn't mean you can start taking risks because you were negative."
Saturday also brought news that another top GOP official, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, had been tested for coronavirus. McDaniel last interacted with Trump on Monday, a spokesman told USA Today, when she attended an Orlando event and returned to Washington, D.C. on Air Force One. McDaniel will be self-quarantining with her family at home in Michigan, according to an RNC spokesman.
Several other officials in the president's orbit have also had exposure to the coronavirus. Newly named White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) have all disclosed that they came into contact with a person infected with coronavirus while attending last month's Conservative Political Action Conference. All three have self-quarantined, but neither has reported experiencing symptoms.
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Any citizen who avoids medical registration, fails to truthfully report health status, or escaping quarantine which causes community infection shall be subjected to imprisonment.