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No denial of coronavirus tests for illegal immigrants says Trump

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

US President Donald Trump has said that illegal and undocumented immigrants, including from India, would not be denied from a test for the novel coronavirus which has infected over 300,000 globally.

The United States currently has some 11 million undocumented people, several hundred thousands of which are from India and South Asia.

The coronavirus outbreak, that first emerged in China's Wuhan city, has killed 14,641 people with 336,000 cases reported in 173 countries and territories, According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker.

We will test (illegal) person (for coronavirus) because I think it's important that we test that person and we don't want to send that person back into wherever we're going to be sending, whether it's another country or some other place..., Trump told reporters at the White House conference.

Trump was responding to a question if undocumented persons are welcomed at a coronavirus testing sites.

"Can they show up and be tested without fear of being reported to immigration officials for possible deportation? he was asked.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams said virus doesn't judge based on where one is from.

"So it is important that we try to get people tested who have symptoms. But the important thing that we really want people to hear is that patients need to be tested. We need to prioritise our healthcare workers, he said.

Vice President Mike Pence said that the Department of Homeland Security has addressed this issue. Customs and Border Protection actually issued guidance that leaving certain circumstances, customs and border protection does not target emergency rooms or health clinics.

Trump said that undocumented workers will be tested too.

"Yes, I'll answer that. And if that's not the policy, I'll make it the policy. I was just saying, as Mike (Pence) was saying, the answer is yes, he said.

We will do this test because I think in that case, it's important, Trump said.

The US has seen a significant spike in coronavirus cases with the total confirmed infections jumping to nearly 34,000 while over 400 fatalities were recorded, even as one in every three Americans has been told to stay home.

According to Worldometer, a website which compiles new cases of COVID-19, till Sunday evening at least 33,546 Americans were confirmed infected with the novel coronavirus while the death toll increased to 419.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 10:30 IST