Health & Fitness

U.S. Secretary of State Blinken tests positive for Covid, has mild symptoms

Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies during the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, April 27, 2022, to review of the fiscal year 2023 budget request for the US Department of State.

Carolyn Kaster | AFP | Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday afternoon after beginning to experience symptoms, the State Department said.

Blinken, who is fully vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus, is feeling only “mild” symptoms, the department said. The top U.S. diplomat is not considered a close contact to Biden, it added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the president tested negative for Covid on Tuesday.

Blinken’s diagnosis comes eight days after Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for the coronavirus.

The secretary of state had met with Swedish foreign minister Ann Linde before his positive test Wednesday; on Tuesday, he met with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard.

“We are in the process and we have notified those individuals with whom he has been in close contact following [federal health agency] guidance,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with Swedens Foreign Minister Ann Linde at the State Department in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2022.

Michael Mccoy | AFP | Getty Images

Blinken and his wife Evan Ryan, along with Biden, attended the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington on Saturday night. Some 2,600 people attended, including high-profile journalists and government officials. Attendees were required to be vaccinated or have a negative Covid test.

Blinken and his wife were guests of NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company, at the event. An NBC spokesman declined to comment on the diagnosis.

Ryan is the White House Cabinet secretary, acting as the liaison between Biden and the U.S. departments and agencies whose leaders make up the president’s Cabinet.

Blinken “will quarantine at home, he will follow [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guideline,” said spokesman Price, who also attended the White House correspondents’ gala. “I know he very much looks forward to returning to the office, returning to his full schedule and returning to the road just as soon as he is able to do so.”

Before getting a positive result for Covid through a PCR test, Blinken had been scheduled to speak at the Kuwaiti embassy in Washington for a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees event.

Price said the State Department has notified people with whom Blinken had been in close contact prior to his positive test.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Wednesday said that Defense Department officials who attended the correspondents’ dinner have not tested positive for Covid.

In addition to Kirby, U.S. Space Force General John Raymond was at the event.

– Additional reporting by Amanda Macias

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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