Trump valet has coronavirus; president again tests negative

US President Donald Trump gestures during a meeting about the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response with Texas Governor Greg Abbott in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, May 7, 2020. (Reuters)
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Updated 07 May 2020

Trump valet has coronavirus; president again tests negative

WASHINGTON: A member of the military serving as one of President Donald Trump’s valets has tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Thursday. It said Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have since tested negative for the virus and “remain in good health.”
It marked the latest coronavirus scare for the president, and the first known instance where a person who has come in close proximity to the president has tested positive since several people present at his private Florida club were diagnosed with COVID-19 in early March. The person tested positive on Wednesday, the White House said.
The White House was moving to shore up its protection protocols to protect the nation’s political leaders. Trump said that some staffers who interact with him closely would now be tested daily. Pence told reporters that both he and Trump would now be tested daily as well.
Trump, 73, said the incident was a bit concerning. “It’s a little bit strange but it’s one of those things,” he told reporters. “As I said, you know, I said yesterday, governor, all people are warriors in this country. Right now we’re all warriors.”
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said in a statement, “We were recently notified by the White House Medical Unit that a member of the United States Military, who works on the White House campus, has tested positive for Coronavirus.”
He added, “The President and the Vice President have since tested negative for the virus and they remain in great health.”
A person familiar with the matter said the member of the military who tested positive was one of the president’s valets. Several valets cater to the president and his guests at the White House, including serving meals and providing drinks.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
Trump told reporters that he was tested Wednesday and again Thursday. He added, “I’ve had very little contact, personal contact, with this gentleman.”
Trump said the health scare showed the “fallacy” of calls for widespread nationwide testing. “Testing is not a perfect art,” he said, adding, “Even when you test once a day somebody could, something happens where they catch something.”
The White House began instituting safety protocols nearly two months ago, including frequent temperature checks. Last month it began administering rapid COVID-19 tests to all those in close proximity to the president, with staffers being tested about once a week.
Federal guidance has been that a person who was exposed to a confirmed case of the virus should self-isolate for 14 days, but a different set of recommendations apply to those deemed essential workers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says essential workers can continue to report to work as long as they monitor their temperature at least twice a day and wear a mask.
Trump and Pence have generally refrained from wearing masks, citing the fact that they are regularly tested.
Trump told reporters his valets wear masks, and claimed “a lot of people in the White House wear masks.”

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World leaders welcome US transfer of power

Updated 26 min 26 sec ago

World leaders welcome US transfer of power

PARIS: Several world leaders said they were looking forward to Wednesday’s transfer of power in the United States, where Democrat Joe Biden will be sworn in as president after four turbulent years under Donald Trump.

President Hassan Rouhani did not miss the opportunity to hail the departure of “tyrant” Trump, with Tehran repeatedly calling on Washington to lift sanctions imposed over its nuclear drive.
Biden’s administration wants the United States back in the landmark Iran nuclear accord which Trump withdrew from, conditional on Tehran’s return to strict compliance.
A “tyrant’s era came to an end and today is the final day of his ominous reign,” Rouhani said.
“We expect (the Biden administration) to return to law and to commitments, and try in the next four years, if they can, to remove the stains of the past four years.”

Top EU officials voiced relief that they would soon have a friend in the White House again.
“Let’s build a new founding pact for a stronger Europe, for a stronger America and for a better world,” said Charles Michel, president of the European Council.
“This time-honored ceremony on the steps of the US Capitol will be a demonstration of the resilience of American democracy,” added European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
“And the resounding proof that, once again, after four long years, Europe has a friend in the White House.”

NATO said it hoped to boost transatlantic ties under Biden.
“We look forward to working with President-elect Joe Biden to further strengthen ties between the United States and Europe, as we face global challenges none of us can tackle alone,” the military alliance’s chief Jens Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was looking forward to “working closely” with Biden.
Johnson, who has faced criticism over his close relationship with Trump, cited a host of policy areas in which he hoped to collaborate with Biden.
“In our fight against COVID and across climate change, defense, security and in promoting and defending democracy, our goals are the same and our nations will work hand in hand to achieve them,” he said in a statement.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev called for Russia and the United States to repair their strained ties.
“The current condition of relations between Russia and the United States is of great concern,” Gorbachev said in an interview with state-run news agency TASS.
“But this also means that something has to be done about it in order to normalize relations,” he said.
“We cannot fence ourselves off from each other.”