The U.S. ambassador to Ethiopia told the government that an American Marine visiting the country in February showed symptoms of the coronavirus while there and later tested positive, after staying at a hotel at the same time as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, people familiar with the matter said.
In a meeting with Ethiopia’s health minister this week, Ambassador Michael Raynor said the Marine, whose identity hasn’t been released, stayed at the Sheraton Hotel in Addis Ababa for the African Land Forces summit that took place on Feb. 18-21. He showed symptoms while there, the people said. He later tested positive for the virus and is now getting treatment in the U.S.
The hotel is where Pompeo, his staff and traveling reporters stayed for two nights — February 17 and 18 — and held a news conference with Ethiopia’s foreign minister. The visit to Addis Ababa was part of a three-country trip to Africa by Pompeo.
A State Department representative said that Pompeo had consulted with a department doctor and was in good health. The representative added that he would follow medical advice, including testing if that became necessary.
He is now well beyond the virus’s usual two-week incubation period and he has continued to attend events and meet foreign counterparts.
The spokesman confirmed that Raynor had raised the case in discussions with the Ethiopian government, and said the U.S. continues to collaborate with health authorities to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
On Friday, Ethiopian Health Minister Lia Tadesse said the country had recorded its first coronavirus case — a 48-year-old Japanese man who had flown to the country from Burkina Faso. She said the country was still investigating the case of the American Marine, who she said was in the country Feb. 17-21.
“We don’t know if he came here with the illness, or if he got it here or after he left,” Tadesse said. “There are several scenarios.”
Tadesse said participants from 45 countries were involved in this year’s African Land Forces summit, and no symptoms were observed among them.