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Pompeo to quarantine after exposure to COVID-19 carrier

US State Department says top diplomat tested negative for coronavirus, is being ‘closely monitored’ by medical team

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves the White House after visiting with family on December 11, 2020, in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo leaves the White House after visiting with family on December 11, 2020, in Washington. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

WASHINGTON — America’s top diplomat Mike Pompeo was in quarantine Wednesday after being exposed to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, the State Department said.

The 56-year-old US secretary of state “has been tested and is negative,” it said in a statement.

“In accordance with CDC guidelines, he will be in quarantine,” the State Department said. “He is being closely monitored by the Department’s medical team.”

The State Department said that for privacy reasons it was not identifying the person Pompeo came into contact with.

The secretary of state is fourth in the line of succession after the president following the vice president, speaker of the House of Representatives and president pro tempore of the Senate.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks as US President Donald Trump announces that Sudan will normalize relations with Israel at the White House in Washington, on October 23, 2020.(Alex Edelman/AFP)

US President Donald Trump was hospitalized for three days in October after contracting COVID-19. His wife, Melania, and son Barron, also caught the disease.

While Trump frequently appeared in public without a facemask, Pompeo generally wore one during his foreign trips.

Pompeo and his wife, Susan, hosted a holiday party on Tuesday for the families of US diplomats serving overseas.

According to The Washington Post, Pompeo had been scheduled to speak at the event but canceled his speech.

The newspaper said more than 900 invitations were issued for the reception but fewer than 70 people showed up for the indoor event.

US health authorities have discouraged large indoor gatherings amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has left more than 300,000 people dead in the United States.

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