US Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, the wife of one of President Donald Trump's senior advisers, has tested positive for the coronavirus, raising alarm about the virus' potential spread within the White House's innermost circle.
Trump, who along with Pence had tested negative, said on Friday that he was not anxious, adding that "strong precautions" had been taken in the White House.
Later, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the measures taken by the White House to keep officials safe. She also noted regular cleanings and adherence to distancing guidelines of six feet between individuals that are not always followed at crowded White House events.
Trump initially announced that "Katie", a "press person" was diagnosed with COVID-19 during a meeting with White House reporters.
Katie Miller, Vice President Mike Pence's spokesperson, confirmed on May 8 that she has COVID-19, after news broke that a "staffer" tested positive.
Six people who had been in contact with Ms Miller were scheduled to fly with Mr Pence on Friday to Des Moines, Iowa, on Air Force Two.
Pence was scheduled to travel to Des Moines, Iowa, in the morning, but his departure from Andrews Air Force Base was delayed by almost an hour as staff dealt with news of the diagnosis.
President Donald Trump meets with Republican members of Congress in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on May 8, 2020.
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Whelan asserted that the Secret Service is following coronavirus-related guidelines, without, however, saying how many employees working in the White House complex have tested positive for the coronavirus.
"I don't know much about it", Trump said.
"We went back and looked into all the person's contacts most recently", a senior official told reporters, according to a pool report. Mike has had very little contact with him.
"As I greet presidents, prime ministers, dictators, kings, queens".
The president added that he's tested "a lot, that's for sure".
The valet, a member of the military, would have had very close contact with Trump, and assisted him with his food, clothes and other personal needs, reports said.
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said the administration was stepping up mitigation efforts already recommended by public health experts and taking other unspecified precautions to ensure the safety of the president.
This has not changed, even with news of his valet's positive test. Valets also attend to the president's food and beverage needs in the White House, and during his trips to other places in the US or outside the country.