July 28, 2020 08:10
President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien has tested positive for COVID-19, the White House announced on Monday.
O'Brien, who heads the National Security Council, "has mild symptoms and has been self-isolating and working from a secure location off site. There is no risk of exposure to the President or the Vice President," according to a White House statement. "The work of the National Security Council continues uninterrupted," the statement added.
O'Brien, who is 54, is the highest-ranking member of the Trump administration known to have been infected with the coronavirus. "I haven't seen him lately," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Monday when asked about his national security adviser.
Previous White House aides who tested positive for COVID-19 include a personal valet for Trump, as well as Katie Miller, who is Vice President Mike Pence's top communications aide.
Last week, the cafeteria at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, adjacent to the White House and containing the offices of the vice president and the National Security Council, was closed after a cafeteria employee tested positive for the virus.
Also last week, a Marine assigned to the presidential helicopter squadron was diagnosed with COVID-19. Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of the president's son, Donald Trump Jr., also tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting the couple to leave early from the president's Mount Rushmore speech during the July 4th holiday weekend.
There has been no immediate comment about O'Brien's diagnosis from the president, who is to travel to the state of North Carolina on Monday to visit a bio-technology center that manufactures components of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.
O'Brien has been working from home for the past week, according to officials, after having traveled to Europe to meet with counterparts to discuss China.
The national security adviser is frequently in contact with the president, although it is not known when was the last time they met. O'Brien and Trump appeared together publicly during a July 10 visit to the U.S. Southern Command in Miami.
More than 4.2 million people in the United States have tested positive for the coronavirus -- the most of any country. About 147,000 are confirmed to have died in the country of COVID-19.
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