A person has tested positive for coronavirus after attending a conservative conference where White House officials were present

Associated Press/Jacquelyn MartinThe audience stands to cheer as President Donald Trump speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), at National Harbour, Md., Friday, Feb. 23, 2018.
  • An attendee of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference last month has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, conference organisers announced Saturday.
  • A number of White House officials attended the conference, as did some 19,000 other people.
  • President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both spoke at CPAC, but the conference organisers said the attendee had no interaction with either of them.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A person who attended the Conservative Political Action Conference last month tested positive for the novel coronavirus,conference organisers announced Saturday.

Some 19,000 people attend the yearly gathering, and this year’s line-up of speakers included President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and a number of other top cabinet members and White House officials.

The American Conservative Union, which organised the conference from February 26 to 29, said in a statement on Saturday the attendee did not have any interaction with Trump or Pence, nor did the person attend events in the main hall.

The Washington Post reported that ACU’s chairman, Matt Schlapp, interacted with the infected person at CPAC. Though it’s unclear when the interaction occurred, The Post noted that Schlapp shook Trump’s hand on stage on the final day of the conference.

The infected attendee was exposed to the coronavirus before attending the conference, and was later diagnosed at a New Jersey hospital. The person is now under quarantine, ACU said.

The organisers said the Trump administration was “aware of the situation,” and urged attendees not to panic.

“Our children, spouses, extended family, and friends attended CPAC,” ACU said. “During this time, we need to remain calm, listen to health care professionals, and support each other.”

The conference frequently draws thousands of conservatives from across the country, including politicians, conservative icons, and media figures.

Several CPAC attendees spoke with Business Insider at the conference about their perception of the coronavirus threat, saying they believed mainstream news organisations were exaggerating the threat and that Trump had the situation under control.

Trump has faced backlash in recent weeks over his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. So far, 19 people have died and 401 people have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Besides a nationwide testing shortage that has likely underestimated the true amount of cases in the US, Trump himself has been accused of frequently downplaying the risk the virus poses to the population.

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