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US Defence Secretary Austin tests coronavirus positive, in home quarantine for five days

US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III
US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III addressing at the Reagan National Defense Forum in California on December 4, 2021. Photo: DoD/US government

Washington, Jan 3 (MNN) US Defence Secretary Lloyd J Austin III reported positive for coronavirus after undergoing test as he showed mild symptoms of the infection.

He will be in quarantine at home for five days as per the health protocol.

The Defence Secretary said he had informed the leadership team of his positive test result, as well as President Joe Biden. “My staff has begun contact tracing and testing of all those with whom I have come into contact over the last week.”

“I tested positive this morning for Covid-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave.
My symptoms are mild, and I am following my physician’s directions.

In keeping with those directions, and in accordance with CDC guidelines, I will quarantine myself at home for the next five days,” the Defence Secretary said.

Austin said that stemming the spread of this virus, safeguarding the US workforce and ensuring his own speedy and safe recovery remained his priorities.

“To the degree possible, I plan to attend virtually this coming week those key meetings and discussions required to inform my situational awareness and decision making. I will retain all authorities. Deputy Secretary of Defence Kathleen H Hicks will represent me as appropriate in other matters.”

His last meeting with President Biden was on December 21 (local time), more than a week before he began to show symptoms.

“I tested negative that very morning. I have not been in the Pentagon since Thursday, where I met briefly – and only – with a few members of my staff. We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout.

“As my doctor made clear to me, my fully vaccinated status — and the booster I received in early October — have rendered the infection much more mild than it would otherwise have been. And I am grateful for that.

“The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce. I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one. This remains a readiness issue.”

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