Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Thursday, March 12, that he is self-quarantining after he came in contact with a Brazilian official who tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The senator visited Mar-a-Lago over the weekend where Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was also present, his press secretary Fabio Wajngarten was diagnosed with the coronavirus. Bolsonaro has also been tested for the virus.
“Senator Graham was at Mar-a-Lago last weekend. He has no recollection of direct contact with the President of Brazil, who is awaiting results of a coronavirus test, or his spokesman who tested positive,” Graham’s office said in a statement.
“However, in an abundance of caution and upon the advice of his doctor, Senator Graham has decided to self-quarantine awaiting the results of a coronavirus test,” statement added.
In addition to Graham, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) also decided to self-quarantine after learning that he was in the same room with Wajngarten, adding that he feels healthy and is not experiencing any symptoms of the coronavirus.
White House on Thursday acknowledged that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were also present at the event.
“Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said, adding that the exposures from the case are “being assessed, which will dictate next steps.”
“There is currently no indication to test patients without symptoms, and only people with prolonged close exposure to confirmed positive cases should self-quarantine,” Grisham said.
She added that the White House and the U.S. Secret Service are working with other agencies to “ensure every precaution is taken to keep the first & second families, and all White House staff healthy.”
President Trump said he was aware of the situation. “Let’s put it this way: I’m not concerned,” he told reporters.
Several congressional lawmakers and officials have also decided to quarantine themselves after being exposed to the virus.
The House and Senate on Thursday decided to severely limit Capitol Hill to the public until April 1 amid growing concerns about the spread of the virus around Washington.