U.S. Health secretary tests positive for coronavirus on Germany trip


President Biden’s top health official tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, the latest member of the Cabinet to do so.

U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra took the test while visiting Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said. Becerra, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, was experiencing mild symptoms of COVID-19.

HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim said he will continue to work in isolation in Berlin.

Becerra hasn’t been to the White House since May 12. He is not considered a close contact of Biden.

Becerra was in Berlin for a meeting of health ministers from the Group of Seven nations on Thursday and Friday. The meeting’s focus is on drawing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic, protecting the vulnerable and unvaccinated from the coronavirus, and how to ease the strain on health systems.

On Tuesday, Becerra met with Germany’s health minister, Karl Lauterbach. He separately met the head of Germany’s disease control agency, Lothar Wieler, two of the country’s top virus experts and the management of Berlin’s biggest hospital, Charite.

None of their offices immediately responded to requests for comment.

Pictures posted on social media of the meetings with Wieler showed the men standing close together outside without masks, but wearing masks while indoors.

Prior to Berlin, Becerra attended a meeting of health ministers in Bali, Indonesia.

A wave of coronavirus cases has spread recently through Washington’s political class, infecting Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, White House staffers and lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.


Source link