US State Department official tests positive for COVID-19 after UK, France, Hungary meetings

US State Department official tests positive for coronavirus after UK, France, Hungary meetings

A senior official with the U.S. State Department tested positive for the novel coronavirus after returning from a diplomatic trip to Europe that included stops in the United Kingdom, France and Hungary.

Peter Berkowitz, the director of policy planning at the State Department, met with senior officials in London, Budapest and Paris earlier this month, The Washington Post reported.

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A State Department official familiar with the matter told CNN that several European officials complained about Berkowitz flouting COVID-19 protocols throughout his visit.

A State Department spokeswoman denied that Berkowitz’s mask usage during his travels was insufficient, noting he “consistently followed the mask-wearing protocol demonstrated by his counterparts from the host government. As Secretary [Mike] Pompeo has said, we take the threat posed by COVID-19 very seriously, and extend every precaution to protect each member of our team as we carry out our diplomatic engagement during these unprecedented times,” the Post reported.

According to CNN, Berkowitz tested negative before the trip and tested positive after he returned. It remains unclear exactly when he contracted the virus, but neither Berkowitz nor the person who traveled with him have entered the State Department since returning to the United States.

Read more here and here.

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