President Trump said on Friday he will “most likely” get tested for the coronavirus “fairly soon.”
During a White House press conference, a reporter noted that the president had been near someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump had previously said his doctors at the White House told him he has no symptoms.
The president said people “should listen to their doctors. They shouldn’t be jumping to get the test unless it’s necessary, but I think they have to listen to their doctors.”
The reporter followed, saying: “But doctors are saying you might have it even if you don’t show symptoms. Are you being selfish by not getting tested?”
“I didn’t say I was not going to be tested,” Trump said.
“Are you going to be?” the reporter asked.
“Most likely. Not for that reason but I think I will anyway, fairly soon, we’re working out a schedule.”
Earlier Friday, news broke that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus. Bolsonaro visited Mar-a-Lago last weekend and met with Trump and his administration and family, and also had dinner together. He later tweeted out that his second test came back negative.
“The White House is aware of public reports that a member of the Brazilian delegation‘s visit to Mar-a-Lago last weekend tested positive for COVID-19; confirmatory testing is pending,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement to the press. “Exposures from the case are being assessed, which will dictate next steps. Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time.
“As stated before, the White House Medical Unit and the United States Secret Service has been working closely with various agencies to ensure every precaution is taken to keep the First & Second Families, and all White House staff healthy,” she added. “To reiterate CDC guidelines, there is currently no indication to test patients without symptoms, and only people with prolonged close exposure to confirmed positive cases should self-quarantine.”
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency.” He said the presidential directive will make available more than $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.
“Trump said he was also giving Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar emergency authorities to waive federal regulations and laws to give doctors and hospitals “flexibility” in treating patients,” the Associated Press reported.
He also announced a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities, as his administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available. The partnership will include drive-thru testing in some locations and an online portal to screen those seeking to get tested.
Still, Trump said that officials don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “It’s totally unnecessary,” Trump said. He added, “This will pass.”
Trump spoke as negotiations continue between the White House and Congress on an aid package, but there was no announcement of a breakthrough, as House Democrats prepare to vote on their own measure Friday.