The U.S. Capitol and nearby congressional office buildings are being closed to the general public over coronavirus concerns, with Congress announcing Thursday that they are allowing access only to lawmakers, staff, press and official business visitors.House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving and Senate Sergeant at Arms Michael Stenger, in a joint statement, said that the temporary closure would begin at 5 p.m. ET on Thursday and last through April 1. It also extends to the visitor center.CORONAVIRUS AT CPAC: DIAGNOSIS TRIGGERS SCRAMBLE TO TRACE EXPOSURE“Following the guidance of the medical community, particularly the recent recommendation of DC Health, and in consultation with the Office of Attending Physician, the Sergeants at Arms of the House of Representatives and Senate have issued a temporary closure of the Capitol Visitors Center to all tours,” the statement read.“In addition, access to the Capitol and the House and Senate Office Buildings will be limited to Members, staff, credentialed press and official business visitors,” they added.“We are taking this temporary action out of concern for the health and safety of congressional employees as well as the public,” the statement continued. “We appreciate the understanding of those with planned visits interrupted by this necessary, but prudent, decision.”The announcement comes

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