US Defence Secretary Austin in intensive care with bladder issue

US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. Mc1 Alexander Kubitza/US Secretary of Defense/dpa
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin speaks during a press briefing at the Pentagon in Washington. Mc1 Alexander Kubitza/US Secretary of Defense/dpa
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The US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, has been transferred to intensive care after being admitted to hospital just outside Washington on Sunday for a bladder issue.

Following a series of tests and examinations, he was transferred to the critical care unit of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center "for supportive care and close monitoring," according to a statement from the hospital.

"At this time, it is not clear how long Secretary Austin will remain hospitalized. The current bladder issue is not expected to change his anticipated full recovery. His cancer prognosis remains excellent," said the statement.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder had earlier announced that Austin was taken to a military clinic near Washington with symptoms of an acute bladder problem.

His duties were transferred to his deputy, Kathleen Hicks.

At the beginning of the year, Austin was criticized for keeping the prostate cancer illness and a hospital stay due to complications during an operation secret. Even US President Joe Biden did not know for several days that Austin was in hospital - but later reaffirmed his intention to hold on to him.

Austin was discharged from hospital on January 15 and then returned to work at the Pentagon at the end of January.