Cruz has extended his voluntary self-quarantine until Tuesday, March 17. That will mark 14 days since his interaction with an official from the Spanish government. That foreign official later tested positive for COVID-19, causing Cruz to isolate himself.
This is the second consecutive self-isolation for the senator. He decided to stay at home originally after encountering an individual at a conservative conference who later tested positive for the virus.
“I’m feeling terrific. I am in good health. I feel strong. I have no symptoms. I continue to be self-quarantined out of an abundance of caution,” Cruz said on the phone.
As the U.S. response to the new coronavirus changes almost hourly, the senator said it is possible that domestic travel restrictions could be imposed on Americans.
“If the epidemic continues to spread, I don’t think it would be surprising to see domestic travel halted – probably at least initially in key affected regions,” he explained. “But potentially, more broadly. That’s been a big topic for discussion as I’ve visited with the CEOs of the major airlines.
“They’re very concerned. They’re already seeing domestic travel dropping precipitously just because people are concerned and declining to fly, but I think it’s possible we will see a pause in domestic travel depending on the health circumstances.”
Working from his home in Houston, Cruz said he has spoken with executives from American, Delta, Southwest and United Airlines in recent days about the effects the new coronavirus is having on the transportation industry.
“They’re losing actually billions of dollars. They’re absolutely concerned,” Cruz said. “This is an unprecedented challenge. They’re seeing a greater challenge to their balance sheets than they saw after September 11. They are working to extend their ability to stay afloat. They are working with their employees.
But depending on how long this goes, it’s going to be a major economic challenge. I fully expect Congress and the administration to work and work creatively to try to address that economic challenge, because there’s no doubt we need to continue to have a vibrant and healthy commercial airline industry in the United States.”
But stopping the COVID-19 pandemic first is paramount, the senator said.
There are four primary ways to address it, Cruz said, which he has urged the Trump administration to focus on:
- Making testing more accurate and more widely available
- Assuring there’s enough preventative equipment for first responders
- Getting hospitals the equipment they need, such as ventilators
- Streamlining the process for developing cures
From self-quarantine, Cruz co-sponsored legislation he intends to introduce that, if passed, would expedite the U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval process for drugs and devices that could treat COVID-19 patients. It’s called the RESULTs for Coronavirus Patients Act.