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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

The White House Management Office sent a memo on Monday directing staff to wear face masks or facial coverings while moving throughout the West Wing, ABC News first reported.

Why it matters: The move underscores fears of the coronavirus spreading within the White House, after at least two aides — President Trump's valet and Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary Katie Miller — tested positive last week.

  • Unlike top health officials Anthony Fauci, CDC director Robert Redfield and FDA commissioner Stephan Hahn, Pence and Trump have declined to fully self-isolate after possible exposure to Miller.

The big picture: The move comes as Trump is spearheading a push for states to begin reopening their economies. Requirements for face masks in public spaces have been a point of contention.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that all Americans wear masks in public spaces, but not all states have mandated them in their orders lifting coronavirus restrictions.

The state of play: Members of the White House already regularly tested for the coronavirus using Abbott Labs' rapid test. The White House Management Office said in its memo that the new requirement for masks is "an additional layer of protection."

  • Staffers who are sitting at their desk and are socially distanced will be allowed to remove their mask, according to the memo.
  • The office added: "Unless you absolutely need to conduct in-person business in the West Wing, we respectfully ask you to avoid unnecessary visits."
  • Visitors who do not have their own masks will be provided with one from the White House clinic.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 18, 2020 - World

CDC lifts travel warning as Bermuda ramps up testing to suppress coronavirus

A view of Coral Beach, Bermuda. Photo: Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The CDC has lifted its coronavirus warning against nonessential travel to Bermuda, as the island ramps up a scheme to attract foreign workers on year-long residencies and marks 57 days with no detected community spread.

Driving the news: Over half of the British Overseas Territory's population has been tested for COVID-19 since on-island capabilities were set up on March 17. Premier David Burt told Axios the strict testing has left him "confident that we are going to be able to catch any clusters before they spread."