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White House relaxes virus screening as Washington hits phase two

Justin Sink and Josh Wingrove
Bloomberg

The White House is cutting back on screening visitors for the coronavirus as President Donald Trump pushes to reopen the country.

“In conjunction with Washington, D.C., entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement on Monday.

The White House had been conducting temperature checks in a makeshift medical tent at the press entrance since March. The tent was gone on Monday, as Washington entered its second phase of reopening, allowing the businesses such as restaurants and gyms to open under limited conditions.

A member of the media, right, gets their temperature taken by member of the White House physicians office, Saturday, March 14, 2020, in Washington.

“In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19,” Deere said.

A notice posted in the briefing room lists symptoms of the virus and recommends social distancing.

On Saturday, Trump held his first rally since the pandemic began, drawing a crowd in Tulsa, Oklahoma, far smaller than he and his camaign had touted. Health experts had warned that a large indoor rally would fuel the virus’s spread in Oklahoma.

The U.S. reported 33,894 new cases on Saturday, its highest total since May 1. About 120,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S.