Peter Dutton, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, has tested positive for COVID-19 after meeting with Attorney General William Barr, Kellyanne Conway, and Ivanka Trump. The virus, which has recently made its way through several world leaders including Justin Trudeau's wife, Sophie, and Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro (who is now denying his positive test result), is spreading massive fear among several politicians who have been exposed. Now, the Trump aide and president's daughter are both among those who have been in close proximity with coronavirus.
"This morning I woke up with a temperature and sore throat. I immediately contacted the Queensland Department of Health and was subsequently tested for COVID-19. I was advised by Queensland Health this afternoon that the test had returned positive," the Australian official said in a statement. “It is the policy of Queensland Health that anyone who tests positive is to be admitted into hospital and I have complied with their advice. I feel fine and will provide an update in due course," Dutton said.
It’s been about a week since Dutton traveled to Washington and met with Barr, Conway, and Ivanka Trump to discuss how to combat online child exploitation. Although all three top Trump officials were exposed, the White House says that the president is not afraid of any implications of Dutton's coronavirus results. The White House has explained that they don’t believe President Donald Trump is at risk for or has contracted coronavirus, and that they haven’t tested him.
Last Friday, a spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, Kerri Kupec, said in a statement that Barr was “feeling great and not showing any symptoms.” Kupec confirmed that he had spoken with the CDC and that they did not recommend he be tested.
This also follows news of Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau’s potential exposure to coronavirus, after his wife contracted it. The fact that yet another high-ranking foreign official is potentially at risk is concerning and represents another example of why everyone — including government officials — are trying to get tested. The CDC and U.S. government have also taken measures to restrict travel to Europe and encourage those who can to work and practice social distancing.
There's no confirmation yet whether Dutton contracted coronavirus from his trip to the U.S. of passed it to members of the White House. Conway, Trump, and Barr's teams have yet to release statements regarding how the exposure is being handled among public officials, though the concern surrounding world leaders contracting the virus is continuing the build.
It begs the question of how Trump and members of his cabinet are preparing for a potential outbreak on Capitol Hill. Trump has now declined to be tested more then once, though the White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the President "had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive," according to CNN.
COVID-19 has been declared a global pandemic. Go to the CDC website for the latest information on symptoms, prevention, and other resources.