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15 Dec, 2021 15:00

Covid test forces Blinken to cut Asia trip short

Covid test forces Blinken to cut Asia trip short

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Southeast Asia has been cut short after a member of the press corps escorting him tested positive for Covid-19.

Blinken’s planned trip included stops in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand, but the Wednesday positive Covid test has prompted the travel to be dropped. It was the diplomat’s first official tour of Southeast Asia. 

The journalist who did test positive is remaining in Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, for a mandatory 10-day quarantine. Blinken will be returning to the US, along with others. It is said to be out of “an abundance of caution” for the potential of more positive cases among those traveling with him, which would force people to self-isolate overseas during the winter holidays, according to the State Department. 

Blinken, whose last and final stop on his trip will end up being Bangkok, has contacted Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai to try and explain the situation. 

Those traveling with Blinken were being tested for coronavirus daily, and the journalist who tested positive on Wednesday had two previous negative tests in Liverpool and Jakarta. Neither Blinken nor anyone else traveling with him have tested positive for Covid since the positive test.