Two U.S. lawmakers recently in close contact with President Donald Trump announced Monday that they are in quarantine after being exposed to the new coronavirus at a conservative conference in late February.
Republican representative Doug Collins, who met and shook hands with Trump last Friday at the Centers for Disease Control headquarters, said he had been informed that he had been in contact with someone whose test for the new coronavirus was positive at the conference last month.
A second representative, Matt Gaetz, who traveled with Trump on Air Force One on Monday, also announced his self-quarantine after being informed that he too had come into close contact with the infected person at the Action Conference conservative politics (CPAC) 11 days ago.
Neither Collins nor Gaetz reported symptoms of the virus.
“I decided to quarantine myself out of prudence,” said Collins.
“It has been tested today and expects results soon,” Gaetz’s office said on its Twitter account.
Collins was with Trump last Friday to visit the CDC headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, where they learned about the spread of the virus.
A photograph published by the Atlanta Constitution-Journal shows the two hands shaking hands at what appears to be an airport during the visit.
The newspaper said Collins was also in close contact with state governor Brian Kemp and Georgia senator Kelly Loeffler – whom Collins contested for the November elections.
There was no immediate comment from the White House.
Five American lawmakers have said they distance themselves from others after being in contact with people infected with a coronavirus.
The other three are Republican Senator Ted Cruz and Republican Representative Paul Gosar, both also on display at the CPAC conference, and Democrat MP Julia Brownley.
Earlier on Monday, Trump downplayed the threat of the disease, which has recorded more than 600 cases of COVID-19 virus in the United States and 26 deaths.
“So, last year, 37,000 Americans died from the common flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 a year. Nothing is stopped, life and the economy continue. At this moment, there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. “