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Trump could have exposed 206 to coronavirus at golf club fundraiser

At least 206 people were potentially exposed to coronavirus at a fundraiser held by Donald Trump at his golf club just before he tested positive.The New Jersey Department of Health announced on Sunday that the White House had provided the list of names of people who attended the events at the Trump National Golf Club…

At least 206 people were potentially exposed to coronavirus at a fundraiser held by Donald Trump at his golf club just before he tested positive.

The New Jersey Department of Health announced on Sunday that the White House had provided the list of names of people who attended the events at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster last week.

“DOH has reached out to these individuals to make them aware of possible exposure and recommend that they self-monitor for symptoms and quarantine if they were in close contact with the President and his staff,” the statement said.

Staff members are also being interviewed to assess the level of contact they had with Mr Trump and his team.

“The contact tracing process is ongoing,” the DOH said.

“Attendees that are seeking a test should consider waiting at least five to seven days from the event. While the risk is low, a negative test earlier than that time cannot definitively rule out that COVID-19 will not develop. Those who are concerned that they were in close contact should quarantine for 14 days.”

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The US President, who announced his shock diagnosis late last week before being flown by helicopter to the Walter Reed military hospital near Washington, has been criticised for not immediately self-isolating on Thursday after his close aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19.

Instead, he boarded a plane to New Jersey, where he attended a fundraiser at his golf club and delivered a speech surrounded by dozens of people before returning to the White House.

The New York Times quoted unnamed sources saying Mr Trump showed mild symptoms at the Thursday night event, seeming lethargic.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Mr Trump “socially distanced, it was an outdoor event and it was deemed safe by a White House operations for him to attend that event”, ABC reported.

In addition to First Lady, Melania Trump, a growing number of Mr Trump’s inner circle and Republican allies have tested now tested positive.

They include former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, former White House Adviser Kellyanne Conway, Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien, Republican National Committee head Ronna McDaniel, and Senators Mike Lee, Thom Tillis and Ron Johnson.

Mr Trump on Sunday ventured outside the hospital to wave at supporters from his motorcade.

It came after his doctors said he had “continued to improve” and could be discharged as early as Monday, even as they admitted his symptoms had been worse than they previously reported.

frank.chung@news.com.au

– With AFP

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Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus.