Trump has tested negative for coronavirus, White House says
- President Donald Trump has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the White House announced Saturday.
- Trump announced earlier that day he was tested for the virus, even though the White House physician released a memo on Friday saying the president did not need to be tested.
- Though Trump said he had no symptoms, some were concerned about potential exposure from two individuals at Mar-a-Lago last week.
- "Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding Covid-19 testing, he elected to proceed," Trump's physician wrote in a memo released Saturday.
- Vice President Pence said he and his wife have not been tested for the virus.
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President Donald Trump has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the White House announced on Saturday.
Trump's physician said in a memo released to the media that Trump was tested Friday evening, though he had no symptoms.
"Last night after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding Covid-19 testing, he elected to proceed," Trump's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, wrote in a memo released to the media. "This evening I received confirmation that the test is negative."
At a press conference on Saturday, Trump told reporters he had been tested for the virus, despite a previous memo from Conley saying the Trump did not need to be tested or quarantined despite potential exposure to the virus.
Several guests at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida tested positive for the virus, prompting concerns that Trump was exposed. But the president made clear at the time that he wasn't worried about being infected.
"The President's exposure to the first individual was extremely limited (photograph, handshake), and though he spent more time in proximity to the second case, all interactions occurred before any symptom onset," Conley wrote.
Multiple lawmakers have self-quarantined after potential exposure
Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Saturday he and second lady Karen Pence had not been tested because the White House doctor said they did not have the symptoms that necessitate a test.
The president hosted a delegation of officials from Brazil, including President Jair Bolsonaro and his press secretary, Fabio Wajngarten, at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump shared a dinner table with both men and Wajngarten later tested positive for the coronavirus.
Multiple members of Congress were potentially exposed to the virus after interacting with someone who tested positive for it after attending the Conservative Political Action Conference. Some of those lawmakers later shook hands with Trump or were in close proximity to him.
Four Republican lawmakers - Sen. Ted Cruz, Rep. Doug Collins, Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Paul Gosar - self-quarantined after coming into contact with the coronavirus patient at CPAC.
GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert was also told he was in proximity of the individual who tested positive for the illness at CPAC, but Gohmert refused to quarantine himself.
The White House on Saturday announced that anyone who came into close contact with Trump or Vice President Mike Pence would have their temperature taken out of an "abundance of caution." The president said his temperature had to be taken before he entered the Press Briefing Room.
As the president was moving from the podium, a reporter asked about his temperature. Trump remarked it was "totally normal," though he did not provide any more details.
CNN reported that one person had been turned away from the White House after they had a temperature of 99.9 degrees.
Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak
The World Health Organisation classified the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic on Wednesday. To date, more than 150 000 people around the world have been infected, and over 5 000 have died.
In the US, the virus has killed at least 50 people and infected more than 2 300 people.
Trump declared a national emergency over the coronavirus on Friday afternoon during a White House news conference.
The move will trigger the Stafford Act, which allows for more federal aid to states and municipalities. Trump said his decision will open up access to $50 billion in aid money for US states and territories.
Trump also conferred "broad new authority" on Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, which includes:
- The ability to waive laws to enable telehealth.
- The ability to waive requirements that critical access hospitals limit the number of beds to 25 and length of stay to 96 hours.
- Waiving the requirement for a 3-day hospital stay before being admitted to a nursing home.
- The ability to bring more physicians on board or obtain needed office space.
- The authority to waive rules that severely restrict hospitals from being able to adequately care for patients.
"No resource will be spared," Trump said. "Nothing whatsoever."
"Our immediate goal is to stop the spread of the virus and to help all Americans who have been impacted by this," he said.
But he added: "Again, we don't want everybody taking this test, it's totally unnecessary. This will pass. This will pass through and we'll emerge even stronger for it. We've learned a lot. A tremendous amount has been learned."
US stocks climbed on Friday, bouncing back a day after the worst single-day drop since 1987.
The gains came after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that Congress and the Trump administration were nearing an economic stimulus deal. In a tweet on Friday morning, Trump hinted at what the package may include.
All three major US indexes remained in bear-market territory on Friday as coronavirus fears and the oil-price war weighed on investor sentiment.
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- The White House is now checking the temperatures of any 'individuals who are in close contact' with President Trump and VP Pence
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