US Vice President Mike Pence self-isolating after coronavirus exposure

11 May 2020, 08:19

Vice President Mike Pence greets attendees following a roundtable discussion on coronavirus on Friday
Vice President Mike Pence greets attendees following a roundtable discussion on coronavirus on Friday. Picture: PA

By Megan White

US Vice President Mike Pence is self-isolating after his press secretary tested positive for coronavirus last week.

Aide Katie Miller tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, making her the second person who works at the White House complex who is known to have tested positive in a week.

An administration official said Mr Pence was voluntarily limiting his exposure to other people.

He has repeatedly tested negative for Covid-19 since his exposure, but is following the advice of medical officials.

Spokesman Devin O'Malley said: "Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine.

"Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow."

File photo: Katie Miller with husband Stephen, who works as an adviser to the President
File photo: Katie Miller with husband Stephen, who works as an adviser to the President. Picture: PA

Mr Pence's move comes after three members of the White House's coronavirus task force placed themselves in quarantine after coming into contact with the aide.

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, placed himself in quarantine over the weekend.

So did his fellow doctors, Robert Redfield, director of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Mr Pence has led the White House coronavirus task force for more than two months.

White House officials had confirmed on Thursday that a member of the military serving as one of President Donald Trump's valets had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

Mr Trump said he was "not worried" about the virus spreading in the White House.

Nonetheless, officials said they were stepping up safety protocols for the complex.

Dr Fauci's institute said he had tested negative for Covid-19 and would continue to be tested regularly.

It added that he was considered at "relatively low risk" based on the degree of his exposure, and that he would be "taking appropriate precautions" to mitigate the risk to personal contacts while still carrying out his duties.

While he will stay at home and telework, Dr Fauci will go to the White House if called and take every precaution, the institute said.

Dr Redfield will be "teleworking for the next two weeks" after it was determined he had a "low risk exposure" to a person at the White House, the CDC said in a statement, adding Dr Redfield felt well and had no symptoms.

Just a few hours earlier, the FDA confirmed Dr Hahn had come in contact with someone who tested positive and was in self-quarantine for the next two weeks. He tested negative for the virus.

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All three men are scheduled to testify before a Senate committee on Tuesday.

The committee says it will allow Dr Redfield and Dr Hahn to testify by videoconference, a one-time exception to the administration's policies on hearing testimony. The statement was issued before Dr Fauci's quarantine was announced.

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