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U.S. Secretary of State Blinken tests positive for Covid

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies in the course of 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 12 months 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 starting to experience symptoms, the State Department said.

Blinken, who’s fully vaccinated and boosted against the coronavirus, is feeling only “mild” symptoms, the department said. The highest U.S. diplomat is just not considered a detailed 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’re in the method and we’ve 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 on the State Department in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2022.

Michael Mccoy | AFP | Getty Images

Blinken and his wife Evan Ryan, together 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, on the event. An NBC spokesman declined to comment on the diagnosis.

Ryan is the White House Cabinet secretary, acting because 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’ll follow [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guideline,” said spokesman Price, who also attended the White House correspondents’ gala. “I do 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’s in a position to accomplish that.”

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

Price said the State Department has notified individuals 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 haven’t tested positive for Covid.

Along with Kirby, U.S. Space Force General John Raymond was on the event.

– Additional reporting by Amanda Macias

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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