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An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

  • "The acting Deputy Administrator has been isolating since he began exhibiting symptoms late Monday, November 23, and will continue to until a retest is conclusive," spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala said in a statement issued after being contacted by Axios.

Details: Barsa was planning to travel to Honduras this weekend after the country was ravaged by recent hurricanes. Administration officials say they expect that trip is now off.

  • Barsa's positive test results comes shortly after Donald Trump Jr. and senior White House aide Andrew Giuliani, among several others close to the president, also contracted the virus.

The backdrop: Barsa has come under fire in recent weeks after Axios obtained leaked audio with him making remarks some employees took as threatening about their future work prospects.

USAID is an independent government agency that works closely with the State Department. It is tasked with leading the government's international development and disaster assistance efforts.

This story has been updated with quotes from the USAID spokesperson, background about the agency and a restatement of Barsa's comments to his employees.

Go deeper

Acting director of ICE resigns

ICE headquarters in Washington, D.C., in 2020. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Jonathan Fahey, acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has resigned after leading the agency for two weeks, though it is unclear what prompted his departure, an ICE spokesperson confirmed to Axios Wednesday night.

Why it matters: Fahey's exit, first reported by Buzzfeed's Hamed Aleaziz, comes after the previous acting director, Tony Pham, abruptly left the post in December and amid a wider shakeup in the Department of Homeland Security.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.