Coronavirus

Coronavirus US: who are the White House Covid-19 task force members quarantined?

Senior US officials including a lead member of the Covid-19 Task Force are in self-quarantine after cases were reported in Donald Trump's inner circle.

Coronavirus US: who are the White House Covid-19 task force members quarantined?
MANDEL NGAN AFP

The coronavirus pandemic struck at the nucleus of US President Donald Trump's White House Covid-19 task force over the weekend with three senior officials including one of its lead members, Dr. Anthony Fauci, placing themselves in self-quarantine. Also affected were the Head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Robert Redfield, and Stephen Hahn, the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. Both are also in self-isolation and will spend the next two weeks working from home.

Redfield "will be teleworking for the next two weeks" after a "low-risk exposure" on Wednesday to a person at the White House who has the disease, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, citing a spokesman, while Hahn is in self-quarantine for a couple of weeks after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19, an FDA spokesman told Reuters late on Friday.

Hahn immediately took a diagnostic test for the coronavirus and the results were negative, FDA spokesman Michael Felberbaum said in an emailed statement. 

US VP's press secretary tests positive for Covid-19

"As Dr. Hahn wrote in a note to staff today, he recently came into contact with an individual who has tested positive for Covid-19. Per CDC guidelines, he is now in self-quarantine for the next two weeks," the FDA spokesman said.

Politico reported that Hahn had come into contact with Katie Miller, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary. Miller, the wife of one of President Donald Trump's senior advisers, tested positive on Friday, raising alarm about the virus' potential spread within the White House's innermost circle.

The diagnosis of Miller, who is married to White House immigration adviser and speech writer Stephen Miller, was revealed by Trump in a meeting with Republican lawmakers on Friday. A valet for Pence has also tested positive for Covid-19.

Obama launches attack on Trump's handling of Covid-19 crisis

Trump was reported as stating on Saturday that he believed the coronavirus pandemic would disappear before a vaccine is readily available and it was also revealed that his predecessor Barack Obama had launched a scathing attack on the Trump administration's handling of the Covid-19 crisis, branding the White House's response an "absolute chaotic disaster."

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