Lithuanian defense minister, senior Pentagon official test positive for COVID-19

FILE PHOTO: Lithuania’s Defense Minister Raimundas Karobli speaks during a meeting with Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller at the Pentagon in nearby Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Lithuanian Defense Minister Raimundas Karoblis has tested positive for COVID-19 and Anthony Tata, one of several senior U.S. defense officials who met him at the Pentagon last week, also tested positive on Thursday, the Pentagon said.

The Lithuanian embassy told the Pentagon of Karoblis’s positive test on Thursday, it added. Tata, who performs the duties of undersecretary of defense for policy, had met Karoblis on Nov. 13.

All the senior U.S. defense officials who met Karoblis on Nov. 13 and Nov. 16, including Acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller, were tested for COVID-19, the Pentagon said in its statement.

Tata will isolate at home for 14 days but Miller is not quarantining, the statement said, adding that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s coronavirus guidelines were followed in the meetings with the Lithuanian minister.

Last month almost all of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff went into self-quarantine after two senior military officials who attended a top-level meeting tested positive for COVID-19.

The United States is facing an alarming surge in coronavirus infections and the death toll in the country from COVID-19 surpassed 250,000 on Wednesday.

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