Donald Trump has said coronavirus testing in the US will soon happen on a large scale as the country looks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The president did not provide any further details on how large-scale testing would take place but tweeted: “For decades the @CDCgov [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] looked at, and studied, its testing system, but did nothing about it.
“It would always be inadequate and slow for a large scale pandemic, but a pandemic would never happen, they hoped. President Obama made changes that only complicated things further…..
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“Their response to H1N1 Swine Flu was a full scale disaster, with thousands dying, and nothing meaningful done to fix the testing problem, until now. The changes have been made and testing will soon happen on a very large scale basis. All Red Tape has been cut, ready to go!”
It comes after the US, which has more than 1,700 confirmed cases of COVID-19, suspended all flights from mainland Europe to the US for 30 days.
Mr Trump is also reportedly “very concerned” about coming into contact with people who have contracted coronavirus.
According to CNN, the US president is worried about having exposure to anyone later diagnosed with COVID-19.
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Last weekend, Mr Trump was pictured standing shoulder to shoulder with Fabio Wajngarten, who serves as communications chief for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Days later, Mr Wajngarten confirmed he had tested positive for the coronavirus – prompting Mr Trump to insist that he was not concerned.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, the US president had said: “We had dinner in Florida at Mar-a-Lago with the entire delegation, but we did nothing very unusual.
“We sat next to each other for a period of time. I am not concerned.”
Contradicting Mr Trump’s public remarks, a source told CNN: “He is very concerned about all the people he met who have it, including the Brazilian.”
This is the first time that someone known to have the virus was in close proximity to the US president, and the White House says the 73-year-old president does not plan to self-isolate or be tested.
Meanwhile, Australia’s home affairs minister Peter Dutton – who has tested positive for coronavirus – met with the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and attorney general William Barr last week.
Elsewhere, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that he will stay in isolation for two weeks after his wife Sophie tested positive for the coronavirus.
In a statement, Mrs Trudeau said she was “experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus” but will be “back on my feet soon”.