No changes to Biden’s travel plans amid First Lady’s Covid bout, White House says

Mr Biden is set to travel to India on Thursday

Andrew Feinberg
Tuesday 05 September 2023 20:39 BST
Karine Jean-Pierre says Jill Biden is experiencing 'mild' Covid symptoms

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Louise Thomas

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President Joe Biden’s planned visits to India and Vietnam are still moving forward as planned despite first ladyJill Biden’s recent positive test for Covid-19, the White House has said.

Mr Biden, who is scheduled to depart the US for this year’s Group of 20 leaders’ summit on Thursday, has remained at the White House since he returned from a visit to his Delaware home late Monday.

His wife, Ms Biden, has remained in Delaware, where aides have said she is isolating in compliance with Centres for Disease Control protocols.

Although the president and first lady were in close contact with each other prior to Ms Biden’s positive Covid test, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday that Mr Biden still plans to leave for India as scheduled, attend the G20 summit, then continue to Vietnam for a state visit.

“The United States’ commitment to the G20 hasn't wavered and we hope this G20 summit will show that the world's major economies can work together even in challenging times,” he said.

Asked whether the White House was planning for any Covid-related contingencies involving the president, Mr Sullivan did not answer directly but said the administration has “long experience” in “managing for situations in which Covid plays a role in summits”.

The national security adviser referred further questions about any Covid protocols to Ms Jean-Pierre, who insisted that there have been no charges to Mr Biden’s plans because he has not tested positive for the coronavirus.

She did note that Mr Biden will comply with CDC guidance by wearing a mask due to his status as a close contact of the first lady, and said the president would continue to undergo Covid testing “on a regular cadence determined by his physician”.

“All travelers, including the president, will test before traveling to India. So that is certainly something that the president will do,” she said.

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