US Republican Senators cancel work as coronavirus hits Capitol Hill

3 October 2020, 18:37 | Updated: 4 October 2020, 10:31

Republican Senators in the US have cancelled work as coronavirus sweeps through their political group
Republican Senators in the US have cancelled work as coronavirus sweeps through their political group. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

US Senate Republicans have cancelled legislative work until 19 October as coronavirus sweeps through their ranks.

It follows calls from legislators for comprehensive testing on Capitol Hill to help prevent virus outbreaks and keep the Senate and House of Representatives operaitng.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett are still on.

One by one, President Donald Trump and a series of Republican legislators have fallen ill with the virus that has killed more than 208,000 Americans.

Read more: Donald Trump coronavirus: Who else in the White House has tested positive?

Over the last week, many of the politicians who tested positive attended events at which few people wore masks and socialised in the halls and tunnels of the Capitol complex.

Just since Friday morning, Mr Trump, Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Mike Lee of Utah and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin announced that they have tested positive.

The Senate was to reconvene this week ahead of its confirmation proceedings for Ms Barrett.

Mr McConnell said those hearings, scheduled to begin on October 12, are "full steam ahead".

It follows the announcement that the President is "doing very well" after being flown to hospital with the virus.

Read more: Donald Trump is 'doing very well' in hospital with coronavirus, his physician says

Dr Sean Conley said in a televised briefing on Saturday afternoon: "At this time the team and I are extremely happy with the progress the President has made, first he had a mild cough, some naval congestion and fatigue, all of which are now resolving and improving."

The US President was airlifted to Walter Reed medical centre direct from the White House late on Friday, hours after his Covid-19 diagnosis was confirmed. First Lady Melania Trump is also doing well, officials said.