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.
Update from Blinken’s plane: We just landed on our next stop. These are the type of people who start approaching your plane after someone tests positive for corona in the secretary’s entourage (photo by @humeyra_pamuk) pic.twitter.com/afbNi02zwO— John Hudson (@John_Hudson) December 15, 2021
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.