US Vice President Harris tests positive for COVID-19, Biden not 'close contact' - GulfToday

US Vice President Harris tests positive for COVID-19, Biden not 'close contact'

Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris speaks during an event. File

Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the White House announced, underscoring the persistence of the highly contagious virus even as the US eases restrictions in a bid to return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Harris press secretary Kirsten Allen said neither President Joe Biden nor first lady Jill Biden was considered a "close contact” of Harris in recent days.

Harris had been scheduled to attend Biden’s Tuesday morning Presidential Daily Brief but was not present, the White House said.

Because of their travel schedules, the last time Harris saw Biden was Monday, April 18.

The vice president returned on Monday from a weeklong trip to the West Coast.

Harris tested positive on both rapid and PCR tests but "has exhibited no symptoms," the White House said.

She will isolate at her residence but continue to work remotely, and will return to the White House only when she tests negative for the virus.

Harris, 57, received her first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine weeks before taking office and a second dose just days after Inauguration Day in 2021.

She received a booster shot in late October and an additional booster on April 1.

Fully vaccinated and boosted people have a high degree of protection against serious illness and death from COVID-19, particularly from the most common and highly transmissible omicron variant.

Harris’ diagnosis comes a month after her husband, Doug Emhoff, recovered from the virus, as a wave of cases of the highly transmissible omicron subvariant has spread through Washington’s political class, infecting Cabinet members, White House staffers and lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., tested positive on Tuesday, his office said.

Allen said Harris would follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines "and the advice of her physicians.”

Associated Press

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