Mitt Romney has entered self-quarantine after being in close proximity to Sen. Rand Paul in the days before the Kentucky senator became the first member of the U.S. Senate to test positive for the coronavirus.
Romney released a statement on Sunday afternoon saying that per the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he would be going into self-quarantine and would be getting tested for COVID-19.
"Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with CDC guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor," read the statement, which was posted to the senator's Facebook page. "He has no symptoms but will be tested. He urges members to pass a relief package as quickly as possible that provides assistance for families, workers, and small businesses."
Romney's announcement came just hours after Paul announced that he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which has begun to spread quickly in the Washington, D.C., area. As The Inquisitr reported, Paul was not experiencing any symptoms of the virus, but was tested in an abundance of caution due to his extensive schedule of travel and events in recent days.
Paul's spokesman, Sergio Gor, said on Sunday that the Kentucky senator was "feeling fine and in quarantine."
As The Hill noted, Romney and Paul have been in close proximity as the Senate works on hammering out an economic relief package for Americans financially impacted by the spread of the virus. Non-essential businesses have closed across the country, and others that remained open have slashed hours and staff, leading to a huge surge in people filing for unemployment in the last week. Romney was one of the first to suggest direct cash payments to American families, which has now become a centerpiece of the legislation.
Romney confirmed that he ate lunch with Paul and others on Friday.The Utah senator called for caution for his fellow senators, saying they should seek medical advice on whether they should self-quarantine as well. It was not clear yet what other members of the Senate may have been in close contact with Paul, or whether others would be following Romney by going into self-quarantine.
It was also not yet clear how Paul's positive test or Romney's decision to self-quarantine could affect negotiations on the coronavirus relief package, which was moving closer to passage.