White House checks temperatures of journalists ahead of Pence briefing

WASHINGTON, March 14 (Reuters) - Signaling a new stage in prevention measures to protect U.S. leaders from the coronavirus, the White House on Saturday instituted a new policy of checking the temperatures of journalists in the White House briefing room.

The checks, conducted by a member of the White House physician's office with a thermometer on journalists' foreheads, took place ahead of a briefing expected by Vice President Mike Pence to reporters.

One member of the press corps was not being allowed to attend the briefing after the temperature screening.

A White House spokesman said the new measure applied to people who would be in close proximity of Pence and President Donald Trump.

"Out of an abundance of caution, temperature checks are now being performed on any individuals who are in close contact with the president and vice president," said White House spokesman Judd Deere.

Trump said on Friday he may be tested for the virus despite expressing no concern that he may have been exposed after a Brazilian official with whom he was photographed in Florida last weekend tested positive for the coronavirus. (Reporting by Jan Wolfe; writing by Jeff Mason Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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