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Sen. Cruz Gives an Update From Self-Quarantine, Discusses Latest on Coronavirus With the Michael Berry Show

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is currently at his home in Texas after a brief interaction 13 days ago with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19, called into KTRH's ‘The Michael Berry Show'  on Tuesday to discuss the latest news about the coronavirus outbreak. On the show, Sen. Cruz reassured listeners that he feels healthy and is not experiencing any symptoms.

When asked about his decision to self-quarantine, Sen. Cruz said:

"I hope people treat this outbreak seriously. I mean there are some extremes out among the chattering heads on cable news. On the one side, there are a lot of folks in the media that are trying to describe this as the apocalypse, like [it's] the end of the earth, [and] everyone's going to die. I think they are needlessly stoking panic and hysteria. I think that's a mistake.

"But it's also a mistake to say this thing is not real and it's not a threat. That is not accurate. This is a serious epidemic. There are over 116,000 confirmed cases worldwide. There are over 4,000 people who have died. It is quite contagious and it has a significant fatality rate."

Sen. Cruz also praised the administration's swift response to the outbreak on the outset, and outlined his hopes for the U.S.'s response moving forward:

"One of the most important public policy decisions that has been made since this outbreak began, was the decision the President made to halt commercial air travel to and from China. That was done early. That was done very shortly after news that the outbreak occurred ... [Last week] all three of the expert witnesses testified that the President's halting air travel had a major effect slowing down the spread of the virus, and that if we would not have halted air travel, we would have many more cases of the virus in the U.S., and in all likelihood, many more fatalities. That was an important first step.

"We need to be continuing to work in terms of finding people with the virus, quarantining them to prevent its spread. We need to be engaged in research for vaccines and treatment protocols. And we need to be among other things, making sure we secure our borders so we're not allowing more spread of the virus into the country."

Sen. Cruz also urged lawmakers to focus on ways to reduce the spread of the virus and develop a vaccine, noting:

"One of the things that I've been pushing in the Senate is legislation called the RESULT Act that would streamline the FDA approval process so that if a pharmaceutical device is approved in another major developed country like Europe, like Canada, then the FDA has 30 days to approve it here. We should - at a minimum - do that for coronavirus-related, either vaccines, or treatments to expedite the medical research and devoting the resources to stopping this outbreak. But as with other health crises, this is an epidemic and it is going to take some time to contain it."

"We also need to look at, particularly, the supply chain with medicines that go through China. We've got a real vulnerability in terms of our exposure to China. That's a long-term policy issue that I've been leading the fight on but we need to get, all of us, need to get much more serious about."

Discussing the need to provide support to those on the front lines of combatting coronavirus, Sen. Cruz added:

"One of the things I've been working [on] with Governor Greg Abbott, and working with state and local officials, is to make sure we get protective gear to our first responders. If we see a similar escalation like Italy has seen, like China has seen, that means our first responders are going to be in harm's way and we need to make sure to get protective gear."

Listen to the full interview here.

Read Sen. Cruz's full statement on his decision to self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution here. As chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Cruz is leading the effort to protect the health of all Americans since the outbreak was first reported, including voting for the Senate's $8.3 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations to assist in the United States' efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus and prevent further outbreaks.

Sen. Cruz also:
• Convened a hearing last week examining role of aviation industry in reducing spread of coronavirus and the U.S. next steps.
• Sent a letter with Sen. Cornyn to get answers about the incident that took place in San Antonio earlier this month, when an individual was released from isolation at Lackland, despite testing positive for the coronavirus.
• Sent a letter with Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) requesting information on the agency's readiness to prevent the transmission of coronavirus across American ports of entry.
• Held a bipartisan briefing in February for members of the Commerce Committee to hear from officials about how the U.S. government is working with other countries on a coordinated, global response to this public health crisis.
• Participated in a roundtable discussion with the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association, where he commended their efforts to contain the coronavirus.
• Sent a letter to the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in February calling for Taiwan to be fully included in the international response to coronavirus.
• Sent a letter with Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and other members to the World Health Organization concerning Taiwan's exclusion from the World Health Organization.
• Called for a travel ban to and from China as well as advanced screenings at U.S. airports in January.



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