US health secretary tests positive for COVID on Germany trip
President Joe Biden’s top health official tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, the latest member of his Cabinet to be infected with the virus.
U.S. Health Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive 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.
HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim said he will continue to work in isolation in Berlin.
Becerra was last at the White House last Thursday. He is not considered a close contact of Biden.
Becerra was in Berlin for a meeting of health ministers from the Group of Seven wealthy nations on Thursday and Friday. The meeting’s focus is on drawing lessons from the coronavirus pandemic, protecting the vulnerable and unvaccinated from COVID-19, 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 Blinken, White House staffers and lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.