WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday reversed course and said he would get tested for the coronavirus, days after he stood next to a Brazilian official who tested positive for virus.
Trump was photographed at his private Florida club standing next to Fabio Wajngarten, the press aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, when Brazilian officials visited on Saturday. Wajngarten later tested positive for the disease.
Trump has previously said multiple times he did not plan to be tested for coronavirus and has not self-quarantined or stopped shaking hands, even though the virus can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing and surfaces. During a press conference in the Rose Garden, where he declared a national emergency to fight the disease, a Reuters reporter asked Trump about contradictory official advice about the disease.
The White House is asking Americans to self quarantine when they return from Europe, he noted, but Trump was in pictures with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. How is that different?
First of all, Trump said, “I’m not coming back from somewhere.”
He added: “There was somebody that they say has it. I have no idea who he is, but I take pictures and it lasts for literally seconds. I don’t know the gentleman that we’re talking about.”
Trump said he did spend time with the Brazilian president. “I did sit with the president for probably two hours, but he’s tested negative so that’s good,” he said.
A reporter from CBS followed up, noting U.S. health officials recommend self-isolation for people who stand next to someone who tests positive for the virus. Trump has said White House doctors aren’t telling him to do the same. “Who should Americans listen to?,” she asked.
“I think they have to listen to their doctors, and I think they shouldn’t be jumping to get the test unless its necessary,” Trump said.
“I didn’t say I wasn’t going to be tested,” he added.
Are you going to be? “Most likely, yeah, most likely. Not for that reason. but because I think I will do it anyways.”
Trump added he would be tested “fairly soon. We’re working out a schedule.”
In the photo he posted on Instagram, Wajngarten is standing next to Trump wearing a “Make Brazil Great Again” cap. (Reporting by Jeff Mason; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)