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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said she tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday, missing her press conference and side-lining her for President Joe Biden’s upcoming travel plans.
Psaki said the positive test will again force her to miss a trip to Europe, this time to a series of emergency meetings with world leaders regarding the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden is scheduled to depart for Belgium and Poland Wednesday morning.
“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,” Psaki said in a written statement.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a press briefing at the White House, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Biden, who had two socially distanced meetings with Psaki on Monday, tested negative Tuesday, according to government officials. Psaki previously tested positive in October 2021 before President Biden’s trip to Italy and Scotland, and returned to work after quarantining.
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“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 press secretary continued.
President Joe Biden speaks at Business Roundtable’s CEO quarterly meeting, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
“Thanks to the vaccine, I have only experienced mild symptoms,” Psaki concluded, “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.”
Due to her illness, Psaki did not attend the Tuesday press conference at the White House.
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Psaki previously tested positive for COVID-19 in October 2021, after which she continued to work remotely for the length of her quarantine.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki, left, calls on a reporter as Anne Neuberger, Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technology, takes questions during a press briefing at the White House, Monday, March 21, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
“On Wednesday, in coordination with senior leadership at the White House and the medical team, I made the decision not to travel on the foreign trip with the president due to a family emergency, which was members of my household testing positive for COVID-19,” Psaki said in a statement at the time.
Psaki’s past diagnosis came less than two weeks after Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas tested positive for COVID-19 just days following an event with the president.