More than 150 National Guard troops in Washington for inauguration test positive for coronavirus

US National Guard troops carry riot shields as they assume positions in the vicinity of the US Capitol as the Inauguration of US President-Elect Joe Biden begins in Washington. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Between 150 and 200 National Guard deployed to Washington, DC, to provide security for President Joe Biden's inauguration have tested positive for the coronavirus, a US official said on Friday (Jan 22).

The US government imposed unprecedented security measures in the city following the deadly Jan 6 attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, including fences topped with razor wire and checkpoints manned by National Guard.

The official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the number of National Guard troops who tested positive could rise but was still a small fraction of the more than 25,000 troops deployed in the city over the past few days.

The United States reported more than 4,000 daily deaths from Covid-19 for a second consecutive day on Thursday, according to a Reuters analysis of public health data, bringing the cumulative number of US lives lost to almost 410,000.

The National Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The military has said arrangements are being made for thousands of troops to return home, and that about 15,000 are expected to leave Washington within the next five to 10 days.

Some 7,000 National Guard personnel are expected to stay at least through the end of the month, officials have said.

A smaller number of troops could stay longer.

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