- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra tested positive for COVID-19 while in Germany to meet with other Group of Seven health ministers, his agency said Wednesday.

Mr. Becerra last visited the White House on Thursday but he is not considered a close contact of President Biden as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The secretary “is fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, and is experiencing mild symptoms,” said Sarah Lovenheim, assistant secretary for public affairs. “He remains fully engaged with the duties of HHS secretary while in isolation in Berlin, and looks forward to resuming in-person meetings, as soon as possible.”

Earlier Wednesday, the White House said Mr. Biden’s daughter, Ashley Biden, tested positive for the virus, forcing her to scrap plans to join her mother, First lady Jill Biden, on a trip to South America.

Vice President Kamala Harris, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Cabinet officials, senior aides and visiting dignitaries have all tested positive in recent weeks and months.

Each time, the White House assured the public that the 79-year-old president was not a close contact, which is defined by the CDC as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative 15 minutes in a 24-hour period.

SEE ALSO: Air Force Academy cadets face expulsion, repayment demand over vaccine refusal

The White House also takes several precautions to protect Mr. Biden, such as testing persons who interact with the president on a given day and wearing masks in meetings.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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