United States Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 2 with “mild” symptoms.
In a statement, Austin said that he took the test after experiencing symptoms while at home on leave.
Austin is fully vaccinated and received his booster shot in early October, which he said “have rendered the infection much more mild than it would otherwise have been.”
Austin said he will self-quarantine at his home for the next five days, in line with the guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Contact tracing and testing has begun for those who came into contact with Austin over the last week, he said.
Austin further said that he will continue to work while in quarantine.
“Stemming the spread of this virus, safeguarding our workforce and ensuring my own speedy and safe recovery remain my 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,” Austin said.
According to Austin, he last met with President Joe Biden on Dec. 21 and tested negative at the time.
Austin also said that he has not been in the Pentagon since Dec. 30 when he met “briefly — and only — with a few members of my staff.”
“We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout,” Austin added.
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