Trump White House 'hampered' coronavirus response by treating it as classified information: report
Donald Trump at a Fox News town hall (screengrab)

President Donald Trump's White House has reportedly "hampered" its own government's response to the coronavirus pandemic by treating minutes from meetings about the disease as classified information.

According to Reuters, "the White House has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information" at a time when agencies need it during a public health crisis.

One Trump administration official tells Reuters that meetings discussing topics including "the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions" have taken place at a high-security meeting room at the Department of Health and Human Services. The meetings were particularly problematic because several government experts who lack security clearance were excluded from them.

“We had some very critical people who did not have security clearances who could not go,” the official said. “These should not be classified meetings. It was unnecessary.”

One official didn't mince words about who made the decision to keep the meetings classified.

"This came directly from the White House," they told Reuters.