05:34 GMT03 April 2020
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    A reporter who visited the White House multiple times in the last two weeks is now suspected of having contracted the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, according to the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA).

    The WHCA said in a Monday email to members that the reporter was at the presidential mansion on March 9, 11, 16 and 18; the group declined to give the reporter’s name or news agency.

    The virus has a roughly two-week incubation period, during which someone infected is not showing symptoms but is still capable of spreading the disease.

    White House officials have been checking the temperatures of correspondents before they enter the Washington, DC, mansion, and in the press briefing room, reporters have been practicing social distancing by sitting several chairs apart from one another.

    US President Donald Trump recently chided the reporters for not being spaced out enough, telling them last Thursday they were “sitting too close” and that about 75% of the room should leave.

    The WHCA later released an updated seating chart providing for just 14 reporters in the room, which typically holds 48.

    ​However, in light of the news, the WHCA is asking reporters once again to “review public health guidance, consult their medical professionals and take the appropriate next steps."

    “Please do not come to the White House if you do not have a workspace or an assigned seat on that day. And please DO NOT come into the White House if you are feeling at all ill," WHCA President Jonathan Karl said in the statement.

    An estimated 40,000 Americans have contracted the novel coronavirus, and more than 450 have died.

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    Tags:
    COVID-19, White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA), The White House
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