U.S. House Speaker Pelosi is latest U.S. official to test positive for COVID

By Doina Chiacu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic, her spokesman said on Thursday, after more than half a dozen other federal officials tested positive in recent days.

The Democratic leader tested positive after a negative test result earlier in the week, spokesman Drew Hammill said in a statement.

“The speaker is fully vaccinated and boosted, and is thankful for the robust protection the vaccine has provided,” Hammill said, adding that she will quarantine according to federal health guidelines.

President Joe Biden, 79, tested negative on Wednesday night, the White House said.

“The president is not considered a close contact of Speaker Pelosi as defined by the CDC. The president saw Speaker Pelosi at White House events and had brief interactions over the course of the last two days,” it said in a statement.

Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative on Thursday, a White House official said. Harris’ communications director had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers close contact for COVID-19 exposure to be within six feet (1.83 m) of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.

Pelosi, 82, stood near Biden briefly during a ceremony to sign a postal reform bill on Wednesday. She also attended a White House event on Tuesday with Biden and former President Barack Obama.

A congressional delegation trip to Asia Pelosi had planned to lead has been postponed, Hammill said.

China’s government said on Thursday it would take strong measures if Pelosi visited Chinese-claimed Taiwan on her trip, responding to reports she was planning to go.

Pelosi is second in line to become president, behind Harris. Attorney General Merrick Garland tested positive on Wednesday and is also asymptomatic, the Justice Department said.

The House continues to allow remote voting so lawmakers can casts ballots while they are in isolation.

Source : Reuters

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