US President Donald Trump has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, according to the White House physician. The information was made public after Trump administration declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency on Friday.
“Last night, after an in-depth discussion with the President regarding the COVID-19 test, he elected to proceed. This evening, I received confirmation that the test is negative,” Dr Sean Conley, the presidential physician, said in a memorandum to White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday.
“One week after having dinner with the Brazilian delegation in Mar-a-Lago, the President remains symptom-free,” he said.
Trump had resisted being tested for the virus that has killed at least 51 Americans and infected over 2,500 others.
The deadly novel coronavirus has claimed over 5,300 lives and infected more than 142,000 people across 135 countries and territories, with the World Health Organisation describing the outbreak a pandemic on Wednesday.
Trump said earlier in the day at a White House news conference that he had taken the test “only because the press is going crazy” while his doctor did not consider it necessary and he did not want to jump the queue while people were waiting for it.
He said, “I decided I should, based on the press conference yesterday. People were asking, ‘Did I take the test?'”
He had been criticised by the media for not having taken the test even though he had been exposed to a person who came down with the disease.
One reporter went to the extent of asking him on Friday if he was being “selfish” by not getting tested.