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US President Donald Trump holds up a document showing "countries best and worst prepared for an epidemic" during a news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House on February 26, 2020. - US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his administration's response to the novel coronavirus, lashing the media for spreading panic as he conducts an evening news conference on the epidemic. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP)
US President Donald Trump holds up a document showing "countries best and worst prepared for an epidemic" during a news conference on the COVID-19 outbreak at the White House on February 26, 2020. - US President Donald Trump on Wednesday defended his administration's response to the novel coronavirus, lashing the media for spreading panic as he conducts an evening news conference on the epidemic. (Photo by Eric BARADAT / AFP)

WASHINGTON: Donald Trump had advice on Wednesday for people worried by the Covid-19 coronavirus: be a germophobe like him.

Frequent hand-washing has long been a quirk of the real estate billionaire and US president.

He said his habit is exactly what’s needed for protecting against the easily spread and potentially fatal coronavirus.

“I do it a lot anyway as you probably heard,” he told a press conference in the White House, triggering laughter.

“Wash your hands, stay clean. You don’t have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to,” Trump said. “When somebody sneezes, I try to bail out.”

Trump recounted a recent close encounter with someone who was sick – and how he dealt with it.

“I had a man came up to me a week ago. I hadn’t seen him in a long time. I said, ‘how you doing?’ He said ‘fine, fine.’

“He hugs me. I said ‘are you well?’ He said ‘no, I have the worst fever and the worst flu.’ And he’s hugging and kissing me,” Trump recounted, acting out the encounter for journalists.

“So I said ‘excuse me.’ I went and started washing my hands.” - AFP

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