President Trump with Fox News anchors Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, both of whom are quarantining – Evan Vucci /AP
Senior Fox News anchors have been advised to quarantine just a week before the US presidential election after they were exposed to someone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
The exposure occurred during a flight chartered to transport Fox News employees from the final presidential debate in Nashville last week.
The cable network’s president, Jay Wallace; its chief political anchor, Bret Baier; and at least three other members of its election team were reportedly on the flight and have been advised to quarantine.
The anchors will be broadcasting their shows from home until they receive three consecutive negative tests.
Mr Baier confirmed the reports during an appearance on a Fox News radio programme, saying: “We’re taking all the precautions. I’ve tested negative three times now and I’ll be doing the show from home this week. And we’ll be in preparation for Election Day”.
The conservative network, a favourite of President Donald Trump, has been quicker than its competitors to resume in-studio broadcasting with several of its programmes regularly aired from its New York headquarters.
The network has been steadfast in taking measures to halt the spread of the virus, like wearing face masks, maintaining social distancing and receiving regular Covid-19 tests.
However on screen, some of its biggest stars, like Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, have echoed Mr Trump’s suggestion that the pandemic has been exaggerated by media outlets and Democrats to politically harm the president.
In a memo to employees on Monday, Fox announced its protocols would be increased in its offices after “a few positive COVID-19 cases” at the company.
“We know this election will be like no other and it will be exciting to witness it first hand, but only those employees who are critical to that night’s production will be permitted to work from [the headquarters in New York]”, according to a copy of the memo seen by The Washington Post.
According to the newspaper, everyone on board the flight tested negative in rapid tests conducted before the debate and immediately after returning to New York.
The infected person had tested negative before departing Nashville but received a positive test upon their return. The network immediately carried out contact tracing after it learned of the positive result.