WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Army’s chief of staff returned to the Pentagon on Tuesday, in a sign that the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff were starting to move towards ending their self-quarantine following a coronavirus scare at a recent top-level meeting.
Two senior military officials who attended the meeting earlier this month tested positive for COVID-19, leading to almost all of the military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff to go into self-quarantine last week.
“I was tested this morning and all negative and I’ve been cleared by the docs (doctors) to come back in,” U.S. Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said during a press conference at the Pentagon.
McConville said members of the Joint Chiefs would decide when to end their quarantine depending on the advice of their doctors and where they had been.
The U.S. Navy chief appeared to still be in quarantine, attending a separate event online.
A U.S. official said, on condition of anonymity, that Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike Gilday, who has tested negative for the virus, would self-quarantine until at least Friday.
The Coast Guard and Marine Corps’ No. 2 officers tested positive for the coronavirus last week following a meeting in the ultra-secure “Tank” at the Pentagon.
The list of top generals quarantining read like a “Who’s Who” of the U.S. military, including its chairman, Army General Mark Milley; General Paul Nakasone, head of the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command; as well as the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Space Force.
The positive cases had added to a growing sense of uncertainty about operations at the highest levels of the U.S. government after President Donald Trump himself was infected, along with senior White House staff and other Republican leaders.
(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Richard Chang)