US vice president self isolates after aide tests positive for coronavirus

Vice President Mike Pence Credit: Charlie Neibergall/AP

US Vice President Mike Pence is self-isolating after an aide tested positive for coronavirus last 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.

“Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine,” said spokesman Devin O’Malley.

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

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, Mr Pence’s spokeswoman Katie Miller said.

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).

President Donald Trump, who let slip the identity of the Pence aide who tested positive. Credit: AP

Mr Pence’s press secretary 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 this week.

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, who publicly identified the affected Pence aide as spokeswoman Katie Miller, 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.

Mr Pence was informed of the positive test on Friday morning.

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.

Dr Anthony Fauci has also taken isolation measures Credit: Alex Brandon/AP

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.

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.

Ms Miller had been in recent contact with Mr Pence but not with the president, and had tested negative a day earlier.

She is married to Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser. The White House had no immediate comment on whether Stephen Miller had been tested or if he was still working in the White House.