March 20, 2020 / 11:14 PM / 18 days ago

Member of U.S. Vice President Pence's office tests positive for coronavirus

An undated colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (green) heavily infected with SARS-COV-2 virus particles (purple), also known as novel coronavirus, the virus which causes COVID-19, isolated from a patient sample. NIAID Integrated Research Facility (IRF)/Handout via REUTERS.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A member of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s office has tested positive for the coronavirus but neither President Donald Trump nor Pence have had close contact with the individual, Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller said in a statement on Friday.

Miller said Pence’s office was notified on Friday evening about the positive test. The statement did not name the individual. “Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines,” she said, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Pence is leading the White House task force formed to combat the outbreak.

The vice president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for further details and whether Pence would now be tested.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said last week that Pence did not require testing after dining with a Brazilian government official who later tested positive for the disease.

President Donald Trump has tested negative for the coronavirus, his doctor said last week.

Two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Ben McAdams of Utah, said on Wednesday they had tested positive, becoming the first members of Congress known to have contracted the respiratory illness.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Eric Beech and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese and Sonya Hepinstall

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