Blinken tests positive for Covid
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday afternoon, the State Department announced. The top official is experiencing only mild symptoms and will work from home until he can return to his department, his spokesman added.
“The Secretary is fully vaccinated and boosted against the virus and is experiencing only mild symptoms. He tested negative on Tuesday and again as recently as this morning,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement on Wednesday.
Blinken “encourages all Americans who are eligible to get fully vaccinated and boosted in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from developing severe Covid-19 disease,” Price added.
The diplomat’s most recent meeting was with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde earlier on Wednesday in Washington, DC. On Tuesday, he met with his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard, gave the keynote speech at the Annual Conference on the Americas Luncheon, and spoke about the World Press Freedom Day at the State Department briefing room.
Price also pointed out that Blinken “has not seen President [Joe] Biden in person for several days, and the President is not considered a close contact according to guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Biden appeared on Wednesday afternoon alongside Vice President Kamala Harris at a reception for US Olympians outside the White House. Harris, who tested positive for the virus on April 26 and was only cleared to return to work on Tuesday, was wearing a face mask – as was her husband.
Several reporters who attended the White House Correspondents’ Dinner over the weekend have since tested positive for the virus, including ABC’s Jonathan Karl, who shook hands with Biden at the event. The White House insisted that gathering 2,600 people inside the ballroom of the Washington Hilton hotel was fine, since proof of vaccination and a same-day negative test were required, boosters were strongly encouraged, and masking was optional.
One of Biden’s first executive orders mandated masks on federal property and on all forms of transportation. It was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge last month. Several other judges have also struck down Biden’s attempt to mandate Covid-19 vaccinations.