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Sen. Cruz on COVID-19: ‘As A Country, We’ve Endured Enormous Challenges & We Will Overcome This One As Well’

Discusses four specific steps administration should take on COVID-19 response with ABC News Live, Dallas’ WFAA, KXAS & Houston’s KTRK

HOUSTON, Texas - After calling on federal officials to take four immediate steps to detect, treat, and prevent the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is in self-quarantine out of an abundance of caution, called into ABC News Live with Diane Macedo. On Saturday, Sen. Cruz spoke with WFAA Dallas' Jason Whitely, KXAS Dallas' Katy Blakey, and KTRK Houston's Tom Abrahams.

WATCH: Sen. Cruz on ABC News Discusses COVID-19 & Decision to Extend Self-Quarantine

When asked about his health and extended self-quarantine, Sen. Cruz reassured ABC viewers that he is not experiencing any symptoms and feels healthy:

"I'm feeling terrific. I have no symptoms, I'm in good health. But I'm trying at the same time to be cautious and prudent ... [I'm] working from home and engaging in the government response to this growing public health crisis."

Sen. Cruz continued, outlining the specific steps federal officials should take to help curb COVID-19 and ultimately defeat it.

On making testing more available and accurate, Sen. Cruz said:

"I'm urging the administration [and] I'm urging Congress to make the tests widely available so that anyone who is experiencing symptoms can be tested.

On ensuring there are enough essential medical supplies for first responders and healthcare professionals, Sen. Cruz said:

"We also need to improve protective gear for first responders [and] health professionals - to expand accessibility to that to make sure that we have enough."

On creating more capacity for hospitals and medical facilities, Sen. Cruz said:

"We need to improve our health capacity. If you look at what has happened in countries like China, and Iran, and Italy we've seen their health systems overwhelmed. And so I've urged the administration to give hospitals [and] to give our health system the flexibility to expand their capacity and also to expand their inventory of things like ventilators, because if God forbid we see a dramatic increase in the number of people suffering from this public health outbreak, we need to make sure that we have sufficient medical equipment to care for them."

On finding cures and treatment, Sen. Cruz said:

"Finally the fourth piece of the public health response that I think is very, very important is doing every step necessary to develop a vaccine and to develop treatment protocols and hopefully a cure. I am filing legislation to speed up the FDA approval process ... [It] says that any pharmaceutical device or medical device approved in another major developed country like Canada, like [countries in] Europe, that the FDA has 30 days to approve it here if it is directed towards the coronavirus, so that we can get the medical tools we need to defeat this [pandemic]."

When asked about the administration's handling of the public health crisis, Sen. Cruz said:

"It is a complicated and difficult challenge to undertake, and so it's easy to criticize the process. What I'm focused on instead, is how can we be more effective? How can we ensure that we get the tests where that where they need to go? And [not] use this simply as a political football for one side or the other to advance their partisan objectives...I think we're moving in the right direction, but listen this is a major public health threat. So almost anything we're doing, we need to do more [of]."

Sen. Cruz also reminded viewers that social distancing is key to stopping the coronavirus' spread, saying:

"One of the keys to stopping it is limiting its spread. That means social distancing. It is one of the reasons why I decided myself to self-quarantine. The doctors advised me that based on the contact I had the likelihood of contraction of the virus was quite low. But I thought it was the right thing to do to minimize my contact with others so that if I had contracted the virus, I would not be at risk of passing it on to anyone else."

Finally, Sen. Cruz said:

"We're going to get through this. As a country, we've endured enormous challenges before and will overcome this one as well."

Earlier this week, Sen. Cruz decided to extend his initial self-quarantine upon learning of a second interaction with an individual who tested positive for COVID19, until March 17.

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