U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has come into contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus and will be quarantining although he has tested negative, the U.S. State Department said on Wednesday.
“Secretary Pompeo has been identified as having come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. For reasons of privacy we can’t identify that individual,” a spokesperson for the State Department said.
“The secretary has been tested and is negative. In accordance with CDC guidelines, he will be in quarantine. He is being closely monitored by the department’s medical team.”
It was not immediately clear under what circumstances Pompeo came into contact with the infected individual, but the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that he canceled a speech he was due to give at an indoor holiday party the State Department has organized.
Pompeo’s holiday events, for which the Post said 900 invites were sent out, drew criticism from the U.S. Congress. Last week, Democratic senator Bob Menendez called on Pompeo to cancel the events to avoid “reckless health risk” to department employees and event staff.
More than 72.66 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 1,636,000 have died, according to a Reuters tally. In the United States, there have been around 16.7 million confirmed cases and over 304,000 deaths.
(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Pete Schroeder; Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis)
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