He noted that he has mild symptoms.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced on Sunday that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

“This morning my coronavirus test came back positive. I requested testing after I developed symptoms when I was at home on vacation,” the head of the military department said in a statement posted on the Pentagon website.

The 68-year-old Austin stressed that he has “mild symptoms”, follows the doctor’s recommendations and intends to observe quarantine at home for the next five days. Austin clarified that he “retains all the powers” of the Minister of Defense and, “as far as possible,” intends to take part in key meetings and events in a virtual format. “The First Deputy Secretary of Defense of the United States Kathleen Hicks will represent me as necessary in all other cases,” the statement says.

The minister has already informed other representatives of the Pentagon leadership, as well as U.S. President Joe Biden, about his diagnosis. “My last meeting with Biden took place on Tuesday, December 21, more than a week before I began to show the first symptoms. My coronavirus test that morning was negative. I haven’t visited the Pentagon since Thursday,” he added.

Austin recalled that he had previously been fully vaccinated against coronavirus. He received the third dose of the vaccine in October.