The White House will administer rapid coronavirus tests to members of the press corps attending Thursday’s daily briefing after a journalist in the building on Tuesday started experiencing symptoms.
“Out of an abundance of caution, the White House Medical Unit is going to conduct a COVID-19 test on all members of the press who plan to participate in today’s task force briefing, including correspondents, photographers, and technicians. These test will be conducted with absolute privacy in a vacant office within lower press,” the White House said in a statement.
It was not immediately clear if the test would become a regular occurrence for those attending future briefings.
The added layer of caution comes after a member of the White House press corps began showing symptoms of coronavirus on Wednesday, one day after they were inside the complex for the daily briefing. That individual, who has not been identified, is expected to have test results by the end of the day Thursday, according to the White House Correspondents Association (WHCA).
The White House had previously been taking the temperature of press corps members before they entered the complex and again before the start of daily briefings. Officials attending meetings with President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenators demand more details from Trump on intel watchdog firing Overnight Health Care: Trump steps up attack on WHO | Fauci says deaths could be lower than first projected | House panel warns federal stockpile of medical supplies depleted | Mnuchin, Schumer in talks over relief deal Trump says he’ll look into small business loan program restricting casinos MORE or Vice President Pence were also given rapid coronavirus tests beginning last week to try and protect top government officials.
Trump and Pence have both been tested multiple times for the virus in recent weeks. Both men tested negative in each instance, but there has been a heightened level of concern about the leaders of government being in proximity to those who might be infected.
The president this week shrugged off the idea of separating from Pence at the daily briefings to lessen the risk of both leaders getting infected.
“I don’t think so,” Trump said Monday. “But I think we’ll probably — just because of questions like that, I think we’ll probably have maybe quite a few tests. It’s not the worst idea.”