The members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff went into self-quarantine after the second-in-command of the Coast Guard tested positive for the Coronavirus following last week’s Pentagon meeting, US officials said on Tuesday. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General Mark Milley, was among those affected, Pentagon officials said.
US Defense officials stressed, on condition of anonymity, that Army officers with the exception of the Deputy Commander of the Coast Guard, Admiral Charles Ray had negative results and were still on duty. Neither of them have shown any symptoms or have tested positive so far.
Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said quarantine leaders will not affect the operational readiness or capability of the US military missions.
Hoffman’s remarks did not identify those affected, but many US officials said that apart from Milley, those affected included military, naval and air force commanders, as well as the head of the US cyber Command, General Paul Nakasone.
The revelations risk adding to uncertainty about top-level operations in the US administration after President Donald Trump himself contracted the disease along with senior White House officials and other Republican leaders.
How Ray contracted the virus is unknown, but it is not believed to be linked to the Trump outbreak and others in the White House, officials said.
The Coast Guard said in a statement that Ray had mild symptoms over the weekend and was tested on Monday. Other military personnel were notified of Ray’s positive test that day.
Ray attended a meeting with senior US military officials last weekend, including Milley who is Trump’s top military adviser.
US officials told Reuters that Milley was self-isolating, as were the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and military leaders in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. The Coast Guard said Ray would be quarantined from his home.