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US vice-president limits social contact after spokesperson tests positive for coronavirus

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-05-11 08:29
US President Donald Trump turns to Vice-President Mike Pence as they depart following a coronavirus response news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, US, April 27, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

WASHINGTON - US Vice-President Mike Pence has been distancing himself from others after his press secretary tested positive for the coronavirus, US media reported Sunday.

"Vice-President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine," Devin O'Malley, the vice-president's spokesman, was cited by the Associated Press (AP) as saying. "Additionally, Vice President Pence has tested negative every single day and plans to be at the White House tomorrow."

The AP and Bloomberg News both used the term "self-isolating" to describe Pence's preventative measure, but NBC News cited a senior official as saying that "Pence's precautions did not amount to self-isolation because there are no restrictions on his schedule."

The official added that the vice president "will be a low key for the next couple of days," according to the NBC News report.

Pence, who leads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, is the latest and highest-ranking member of the administration to take restrictive measures to avoid social contact. His press secretary, Katie Miller, had tested positive for the coronavirus.

In addition to Miller, both a personal valet to President Donald Trump and an assistant to Ivanka Trump -- the first daughter and Trump's senior adviser -- had positive tests in recent days, raising concerns about senior administration officials' possible exposure to the contagion.

White House Coronavirus Task Force member Anthony Fauci, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield, and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn have all been in some form of self-quarantine.

Trump, who is now being tested daily for the coronavirus, told reporters Friday that he was "not worried" about the potential transmission of the disease among people close to him, adding that "strong precautions" had been taken in the White House.

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