Blinken tests positive for COVID-19, State Department says

Blinken tests positive for COVID-19, State Department says

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken tested positive for COVID 19 on Wednesday, the State Department said, adding that he was experiencing mild symptoms.

The top U.S. diplomat, who has been fully vaccinated and boosted, has not seen President Joe Biden in person for several days, so Biden is not considered a close contact, the department said in a statement.

Blinken's much anticipated speech on Thursday on the administration's policy on China is being rescheduled.

The Secretary will not be able to work from home and maintain a virtual work schedule. He looks forward to returning to the Department and resumes his full duties and travels as soon as possible, the statement said.

It added that Blinken had tested negative on Tuesday and earlier on Wednesday before testing positive.

Over the weekend, Blinken attended the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, a black-tie gathering of several thousand people, including prominent figures in the media and politics.

In a briefing, department spokeswoman Ned Price said the agency was working to inform those who were in close contact with Blinken over the past days.

On Tuesday, Blinken met with Japan's national security adviser Takeo Akiba in Washington. He also met Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde on Wednesday and his Mexican counterpart Marcelo Ebrard on Tuesday. After meeting with Blinken, Ebrard said in a tweet that he had taken a PCR test.

Price, who sees Blinken, said he was negative about an hour before the briefing.