23/03/2020 8:42 AM IST

Rand Paul Becomes US First Senator Known To Contract Coronavirus

The Kentucky Republican is asymptomatic and feeling fine, his office said.

US Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, his office announced Sunday. He is the first senator known to have contracted the virus.

The Kentucky Republican is “feeling fine” and is in quarantine, according to a tweet sent from his account.

“He is asymptomatic and was tested out of an abundance of caution due to his extensive travel and events,” the tweet continued. “He was not aware of any direct contact with any infected person.”

Paul’s office began operating remotely 10 days ago.

“He expects to be back in the Senate after his quarantine period ends and will continue to work for the people of Kentucky at this difficult time,” said a second tweet sent from Paul’s account.

Paul is the third member of Congress known to have contracted the virus, which has infected more than 31,000 people in the U.S. and over 320,000 people worldwide. Two members of the House of Representatives ― Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) and Ben McAdams (D-Utah) ― announced they had the virus last week.

It’s unclear how Paul was able to secure a test despite his lack of symptoms or known direct contact with an infected person. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has asked only those who are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus to seek a test.

Paul’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Several senators have reportedly expressed concern over coming in contact with Paul in recent days, unaware that he had the virus until this morning. Three GOP senators told CNN that Paul was in the gym with colleagues earlier Sunday, and he was observed sitting near others during recent lunches.

“All the senators are going to seek medical advice as to what action we should take to make sure that we don’t in any way spread this virus ourselves,” Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) told reporters on Sunday. “We had a lunch together with Rand, and hope he’s doing very well, but we have to determine whether any of us should self-quarantine as a result of being in the same room.”