coronavirus

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki Has Covid, Will Miss Biden Trip to Europe

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for Covid-19 and won't travel with President Joe Biden on his upcoming trip to Europe.
  • Biden tested negative for Covid after taking a PCR test, said Psaki, who contracted her first case of the coronavirus last fall.
  • Biden is departing for Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday evening for a NATO leaders summit to discuss the alliance's response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
  • He also is scheduled to visit Poland, which has become a major destination for Ukrainian refugees.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, and won't travel with President Joe Biden on his upcoming trip to Europe, she said.

Biden tested negative for Covid after taking a PCR test on Tuesday, according to Psaki, who said she and the president had two "socially distanced meetings" Monday.

Psaki, who had taken a PCR test in preparation for Biden's trip, said she currently has only mild symptoms, which she credited to having been fully vaccinated against the virus.

She also said she will be working from home in compliance with White House Covid-19 protocols.

The 43-year-old mother of two previously tested positive for the coronavirus in late October. Psaki as a result did not travel with Biden on a week-long trip to Italy and Scotland, as she had originally planned at the time.

Biden is departing for Brussels, Belgium on Wednesday evening to join NATO leaders at a summit to discuss the organization's response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Biden will also attend a meeting of the G7 where world leaders are expected to discuss additional sanctions against the Kremlin.

He also is scheduled later in the week to visit Poland, which has become a major destination for Ukrainian war refugees.

Deputy press secretary Chris Meagher told reporters at the White House's daily briefing on Tuesday, "No members of the press who attended the briefing yesterday are considered to be close contacts" of Psaki.

"We are currently conducting contact tracing, and any member of the press who's considered to be a close contact will be contacted," Meagher said.

"But, if a close contact is determined, it would not be through yesterday's briefing."

Psaki's full statement on her Covid-19 diagnosis:

Today, in preparation for travel to Europe, I took a PCR test this morning. That test came back positive, which means I will be adhering to CDC guidance and no longer be traveling on the President's trip to Europe.I had two socially-distanced meetings with the President yesterday, and the President is not considered a close contact as defined by CDC guidance. I am sharing the news of my positive test today out of an abundance of transparency.The President tested negative today via PCR test.Thanks to the vaccine, I have only experienced mild symptoms. In alignment with White House COVID-19 protocols, I will work from home and plan to return to work in person at the conclusion of a five-day isolation period and a negative test.

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