United States (US) Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Sunday (2/1) said he had contracted COVID-19. The developments come amid an increasing spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant across the US.
Austin is experiencing “mild” symptoms and will self-isolate at home for the next five days, the Pentagon chief said in a statement.
Austin said he was fully vaccinated and had also received a booster shot (booster), which “makes the infection much lighter.”
“Vaccines work and will remain a mandatory military service for our workforce,” Austin said. “I continue to urge everyone who meets the criteria to get the booster.”
Austin said he was last in contact with President Joe Biden on December 21, more than a week before he started experiencing symptoms. On that day Austin underwent a COVID-19 test and the results were negative.
He remains in charge and will attend virtually important meetings and discussions “as much as possible,” he said in a statement.
Austin is the latest high-ranking US official to contract COVID-19, while the Omicron variant sparked a spike in infections in America. [vm/rs]