White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday for the second time in five months, a day before she was to take President Biden on a diplomatic trip to Europe.
Ms. Psaki took a test for the virus on Tuesday morning and it came back positive, she said in a statement, adding that she would not join Mr Biden and top officials at a NATO summit where the president will pressure allies to spend more economic sanctions to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
Ms. Psaki said she had two meetings with Mr. Biden on Monday, who was socially distant, and that she and the president were not considered to have been in close contact based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC defines close contact as being less than six feet away from an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period.
Mr. The bite tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, Ms Psaki said in her statement.
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“Thanks to the vaccine, I have only experienced mild symptoms,” she said. “In accordance with the Covid-19 protocols in the White House, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the end of a five-day isolation period and a negative test.”
Ms. Psaki’s positive case comes as the White House struggles with the strain of a lasting two-year-old pandemic, while also resuming the usual routine of the presidency, including travel abroad.
The administration has faced a number of positive issues in recent days. Last week, Doug Emhoff, Vice President Kamala Harris’ husband, tested positive. Mrs. Harris stood with Mr. Bid under a bill that was signed the same day. The vice president tested negative Sunday, a spokeswoman for her, Sabrina Singh, said on Tuesday.
Sir. Biden also had to cancel face-to-face meetings with Prime Minister Micheal Martin of Ireland last week after the Prime Minister received a positive result. The president was with Mr. Martin for a gala the night before, but was not in close contact with him, according to White House officials.
Congress has also seen a barrage of recent cases. Senator Bob Casey, Democrat from Pennsylvania, said Tuesday that he was tested positive.
Hillary Clinton also announced a positive test result on Tuesday, writes on Twitter that she had “some mild cold symptoms,” but was “well.” She said former President Bill Clinton had tested negative but was in quarantine.
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While virus cases in the United States have been in decline, a highly transmissible Omicron subvariant known as BA.2 is spreading rapidly in parts of China and Europe. The increase in cases in Europe was partly due to government officials slackening on the measures too quickly, said a senior official from the World Health Organization in the region, Dr. Hans Kluge, Tuesday.
Still, White House officials have said they are focused on returning the United States to a place of pre-pandemic normality, and the White House has not reintroduced mandates to wear masks or capacity constraints to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The CDC issued guidelines last month that suggested most Americans could stop wearing masks, and even before that, governors across the country had moved on their own to roll back pandemic restrictions.
The announcement of Ms. Psaki’s positive test came minutes after she was due to deliver the daily press briefing with Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser. She and Mr. Sullivan was not considered to have been in close contact Tuesday, White House officials said.
Ms. Psaki did not meet with Mr. Bitten on Tuesday, officials said.
Chris Meagher, a deputy White House press secretary, filled out for Ms. Psaki at the briefing. He said no members of the news media were considered to have been in close contact with Ms Psaki during the daily press briefing on Monday.
The White House said Karine Jean-Pierre, the former Deputy Press Secretary, would travel to Europe with Mr Biden.
Ms. Psaki’s last positive test, in October, also came as the White House prepared for international travel. She dropped a trip to Europe after being told that members of her family had contracted the virus. Her own positive test came a few days later.
Emily Cochrane contributed with reporting.