Wednesday, June 29, 2022

US health secretary tests positive for COVID on trip to Germany

BERLIN ( Associated Press) – Another member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet has tested positive for COVID-19.

US Health Secretary Javier Becerra tested positive for the virus while visiting Berlin on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said. Becerra has been fully vaccinated and was experiencing mild symptoms.

HHS spokeswoman Sarah Lowenheim said she would continue to work in isolation.

Becerra was at the White House last Thursday. He is not considered close to Biden.

Becerra was in Berlin for a meeting of health ministers of the Group of Seven rich countries on Thursday and Friday. The focus of the meeting is to learn lessons from the pandemic, protect vulnerable and unvaccinated people from COVID-19 and reduce stress on health systems.

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Becerra met with German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach on Tuesday. He met separately with Lothar Weiler, the head of Germany’s disease control agency, two of the country’s top virus experts and the management of Berlin’s largest hospital, Charite.

Neither of his offices immediately responded to requests for comment.

Photos posted on social media of meetings with Wieler showed men standing together outside without masks, but wearing masks inside the house.

Before Berlin, Becerra attended a meeting of health ministers in Bali, Indonesia.

A wave of coronavirus cases has recently spread through Washington’s political class, with lawmakers including Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House staffers and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

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Murphy reported from Indianapolis.

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