The first daughter, 40, will no longer travel to Latin America with First Lady Jill Biden this week, the White House announced on Wednesday.
‘Ashley Biden is not considered a close contact to the President and first lady,’ said Jill’s spokesman Michael LaRosa.
In her briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre reiterated that ‘the president is not a close contact with Ashley’.
‘It’s been several days that he and the first lady last saw Ashley, I think it’s about a week I’ve been told,’ she said.
The president tests regularly every week as part of a cadence determined by his doctor. Jean-Pierre said she did not know when he was last tested.
People are considered to be close contacts if they have been within six feet of each other for at least 15 minutes in a 24-hour period, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The president, who is up-to-date with his booster shots, has not previously tested positive for the coronavirus. Several people in his inner circle have recently contracted the virus, including Vice President Kamala Harris, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield and Jean-Pierre.
The BA.2 subvariant has fueled more spread of the coronavirus in Washington, DC. Meetings with the president are often socially distanced, while masks are optional on the White House campus, administration officials have said.
‘We take extra precautions,’ Jean-Pierre said. ‘Here at the White House, when we’re in a meeting, I was in a meeting with the president earlier, I got tested, put on a mask.’
Ashley was slated to depart on Wednesday afternoon for Quito, Ecuador, for the trip that also includes stops in Panama and Costa Rica.
It is the second time that Ashley has dropped out of an official trip. Earlier this month, she was considered a close contact and exposed to an individual who caught Covid-19 before the first lady’s tour of Ukraine, Slovakia and Romania.
In her trip this week, the first lady is scheduled to meet Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso and give a speech on the challenges of migrating in Latin America. She is also slated to meet Panamanian First Lady Yazmín Colón de Cortizo and visit a health care facility in Panama City. Jill is also set to meet Costa Rican President Rodrigo Chaves.
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