US President Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and is isolating at the White House.
The 79-year-old, who is fully vaccinated and has twice received booster jabs, is experiencing “very mild symptoms” and will continue to carry out all his duties, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
The president is taking the antiviral medicine Paxlovid, her statement added.
First Lady Jill Biden said she had tested negative.
Consistent with White House protocol the president will continue to work in isolation until he tests negative, Ms Jean-Pierre said,
He will take part in meetings via telephone and Zoom, the official said.
White House Covid coordinator Dr Ashish Jha said the president was tired, with a runny nose and dry cough.
He said Mr Biden went to bed feeling fine but did not sleep well and then tested positive on Thursday morning.
Ms Jean-Pierre will hold a press briefing alongside Dr Jha later.
The White House medical unit will inform all close contacts of the president during the day, Ms Jean-Pierre said, including any members of Congress or members of the press who were with Mr Biden during his visit to Massachusetts on Wednesday.
First Lady Mrs Biden said she had spoken to her husband and he was “doing fine”.
“He’s feeling good. I tested negative this morning. I’m going to keep my schedule. According to CDC guidelines, I’m keeping masked,” she said.
Mr Biden, who is the oldest president in US history and turns 80 this year, last tested negative for Covid on Tuesday, the White House said.
In a memo to Ms Jean-Pierre, Mr Biden’s physician Kevin O’Connor said he thought the president would respond favorably due to being fully vaccinated and twice boosted, adding that the early use of Paxlovid provided “additional protection against severe disease”.
As the pandemic has unfolded, doctors have come to understand more about who is at greatest risk of getting seriously ill if they catch Covid and what care they might need.
Age is a big factor – generally, the older you are the higher the risk – as well as how fit and healthy you were beforehand.
Doctors will be conscious that being aged 79 puts Mr Biden at some additional risk, although he is fully vaccinated which means he already has some good protection against severe Covid.
They will normally only prescribe Paxlovid to those who have a higher chance of becoming extremely ill.
But he is the president after all, so you would expect him to get the Rolls Royce of medical care.
Paxlovid is an antiviral medicine that helps stop the Covid virus from multiplying in the body. This keeps virus levels in the body low while the immune system gets on with the job of fighting the infection.
It’s actually a course of two treatments or tablets. The patient usually takes the pills daily – one tablet of ritonavir and two of nirmatrelvir – for five days.