Rand Paul is the first US senator to test positive for coronavirus

23 March 2020, 06:54

The Kentucky Senator has tested positive
The Kentucky Senator has tested positive. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Senator Rand Paul has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the first member of the Senate to report a case of the coronavirus.

The Kentucky politician said in a tweet that he was feeling fine and was in quarantine, he added he did not have coronavirus symptoms and was tested out of caution due to his extensive travel and events.

The prominent Republican said he was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.

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But some senators and aides are angry at Paul for not doing more to self-quarantine earlier and for potentially exposing senators to the coronavirus.

CNN reported Paul attended a major black-tie social event in Louisville, Kentucky, two weeks ago where several attendees have subsequently tested positive, including the wife of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told fellow senators Sunday in a lunch that Paul got tested because he had been at that event.

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Dr Paul was among eight Senate Republicans who voted against a House-passed bill last week that provided more than 100 billion dollars (£85.8 billion) to boost testing for the coronavirus and guarantee paid sick leave for millions of workers.

He also was only Republican senator who opposed an earlier bill authorising 8.3 billion dollars (£7.1 billion) for initial response to the coronavirus.

The senator was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday afternoon, which was the last time the Senate held floor votes, including on one of his amendments.

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While Senate Republicans have lunched together as a group most days since, it is unclear if Dr Paul was among them.

John Thune, the second-ranking Republican senator, said on the Senate floor on Sunday that politicians will consult with the attending physician at the Capitol about those senators who have been in contact with Dr Paul.

Two House members, Republicans Mario Diaz Balart and Ben McAdams, have tested positive.

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The Senate was in session on Sunday seeking a bipartisan response to the pandemic.

If approved, the Bill would be the third measure Congress has approved in response to the coronavirus this month.