WASHINGTON (AFP, REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump said on Monday (May 11) that Mike Pence has tested negative for coronavirus but he may limit his contact with the vice-president for the moment.
Trump also suggested that Pence was in quarantine after his press secretary tested positive, though he did not say it outright.
"I would say that he and I will be talking about that," Trump told reporters at the White House, when asked if he was considering limiting contacts with Pence.
"During this quarantine period, we'll probably talk," Trump said, adding: "I have not seen him since then.
"We can talk on the phone," he said.
"He tested negative, so we have to understand that, but he comes into contact with a lot of people."
Meanwhile, the White House has directed staff working in the West Wing, where the daily operations of Trump's administration are carried out, to wear masks except when they are at their own desks, two senior administration officials said on Monday.
With Trump's valet and Pence's press secretary both testing positive for the deadly coronavirus last week, pressure is growing for the White House to take further steps in protecting the health of the 73-year-old president.
ABC News first reported that the White House had informed its staff in a memo that everyone entering the West Wing would be required to wear a mask or facial covering.
Unnecessary visits from other parts of the White House complex to the West Wing area, which includes the Oval Office and work space for senior advisers, was discouraged.
"Common sense has finally prevailed," said one senior administration official.
Trump has been resistant to wearing a mask himself and has not put one on in public, though he said he tried some on backstage during a visit to a mask factory in Arizona last week.
The president is in the age group that is considered high risk for complications with the coronavirus, which has killed tens of thousands of people in the United States alone and ravaged countries and economies worldwide.
Staff members, including Jared Kushner, the president's senior adviser and son-in-law, were seen wearing masks on White House grounds on Monday.