The White House has ordered its staff to cover their faces with masks at all times except when seated at their desks, socially distant from colleagues. This change in protocol comes after several high-profile White House staffers tested positive for the novel Coronavirus.
Speaking at a news conference, Donald Trump Trump said he took the decision, which came after both his personal valet and Katie Miller, communications director for Vice-President Mike Pence, tested positive for COVID-19 last week. “I required it,” Trump said at the White House. He added that he did not need to wear a mask. “In my case, I am very far away from everyone,” he said.
The new infections sounded alarm on President Trump's guidance to reopen the ailing national economy when it appeared the White House itself was struggling to contain the highly contagious virus. However, he played down the virus threat in the White House by saying, "We have hundreds of people a day pouring into the White House each day. I think we're doing a good job containing it."
Meanwhile, President Trump on Monday said that the United States will complete 10 million Coronavirus testings this week, "This week the United States will pass 10 million tests conducted, nearly double the number of any other country. We are testing more people per capita than South Korea, the United Kingdom, France, Japan, Sweden, Finland, and many other countries, in some cases combined," Trump said.
As of Monday morning, the figure stood at 9 million tests, accelerating by 300,000 per day. "Three weeks ago we were conducting roughly 150,000 tests per day. Now we are doing approximately 300,000 tests per day, a 100% increase, and it will go up substantially from that number," Trump said.
Wide testing for Coronavirus is viewed as a necessary prerequisite to reopening the US after quarantines and lockdowns. In an effort to ramp up testing further, Trump announced the allocation of USD 11 billion to every state, territory, and tribe.
(With agency inputs)