US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced Sunday that he has tested positive for COVID-19 and has moderate symptoms, for which he is quarantined at home.
Austin said in a statement that he plans to attend crucial meetings and conversations virtually next week “to the extent possible.” He indicated that the undersecretary of Defense, Kathleen Hicks, will represent him in pertinent matters.
The secretary noted that the last time he met with President Joe Biden was on December 21, more than a week before he began to experience symptoms, and that morning he had tested negative.
“I have informed my leadership team of my positive diagnostic test result as well as the president,” Austin noted. “My staff have started to trace contacts and have everyone I have been in contact with in the last week have diagnostic tests administered.”
Austin, 68, said he has the full vaccination schedule and received a booster in October.
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He added that he requested a test on Sunday morning after experiencing symptoms when he was at home on a day of rest and, given the result, plans to remain in quarantine for five days, according to the guidelines of the Centers for Control and Disease Prevention.
“Vaccines work and will continue to be a military medical requirement for our workforce. I continue to encourage anyone who is eligible for a booster injection to get one. This is still a matter of being available ”for action, he said.
In October, another member of Biden’s cabinet, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, tested positive for COVID-19.
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