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US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin informed on Twitter that he tested positive for coronavirus on Monday. He said his symptoms are mild and have quarantined himself at home for five days.

"I tested positive this morning for COVID-19. I requested the test today after exhibiting symptoms while at home on leave. My symptoms are mild, and I am following my physician’s directions," Austin wrote on Twitter.

The US Defence Secretary 68, said he was fully vaccinated and received a booster in October. In a series of tweets, Austin said, "As my doctor made clear to me, my fully vaccinated status — and the booster I received in early October — have rendered the infection much milder than it would otherwise have been. And I am grateful for that".

"The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce. I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one. This remains a readiness issue," he added.

Austin said he last met US president Joe Biden on December 21, 2021. At that time, he had no Covid symptoms and added "I tested negative that very morning. I have not been in the Pentagon since Thursday, where I met briefly & only with a few staff".

Austin is the latest high-profile US official to contract Covid-19 as the Omicron variant drives a record surge in infections.

Several prominent members of Congress recently revealed they had tested positive for the virus. Biden's press secretary Jen Psaki contracted Covid-19 in October.

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