US President Joe Biden will follow the Covid-19 guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during his visit to India for the G20 Summit and his trip to Vietnam, the White House has said.
The announcement on Tuesday came after First Lady Jill Biden, 72, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday. President Biden, 80, was tested for the virus on Monday and Tuesday following his wife's positive test, but his results were negative.
The White House said the president has tested negative twice and there is no change in his travel plans for India and Vietnam later this week.
Responding to questions from reporters, it said the president, however, is taking all the necessary precautions and following standard procedures as per the CDC guidelines.
“What I can tell you is that the president certainly is going to test on a regular cadence determined by his physician. Of course, all travellers, including the president, will test before travelling to India," White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters at her daily news conference on Tuesday
"So, that is certainly something that the president will do. As I mentioned, he's following CDC guidelines,” she said.
Biden will travel to India on September 7 to participate in the G20 Summit and will have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 8 on the side-lines of the historic meeting, the White House announced on Friday.
In its capacity as the current president of G20, India is hosting the annual summit of the influential grouping in New Delhi on September 9 and 10.
Ahead of his trip, reporters asked Biden on Sunday whether he was looking forward to his visits to India and Vietnam.
“Yes, I am," Biden replied.
“The CDC does not recommend testing every day after a close contact. That is their recommendation. We are going to follow the CDC guidelines. They recommend a combination of things, which is masking, testing, and monitoring for symptoms. He has no symptoms. We are going to continue to follow those guidelines. He is going to have those close consultations with his physician,” she said.
Jean-Pierre said all senior staffers test for Covid-19 anytime if they are around the president.
“We do tests. That has been the way we have moved forward for the past almost two years here. So that has not changed. No White House protocol is going to be changing, but when we do have a close engagement with the president, his senior staff and as you all know, or anyone, we do a test,” she noted.
As of now, there is no change in President Biden's plans, she asserted.
“What I can say right now is that we do not have any changes, any updates or changes to his travel. The president tested negative yesterday. He tested negative this morning and he has no symptoms. He's feeling good,” the press secretary said.
“Of course, he's going to be very cautious and he's going to wear a mask, as the CDC guidelines suggest or request. So that's how we're going to move forward. We just don't have any updates and changes. We don't have any updates in any schedule and the president's feeling fine and we're going to move forward,” she said.
US President Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva are among the G20 leaders who have already confirmed their participation in the summit.
Modi will hand over the baton of the G20 Presidency to Brazilian President Lula on September 10.
Brazil will formally assume the G20 Presidency on December 1.
The G20 member countries represent around 85 per cent of the global GDP, over 75 per cent of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population.
The grouping comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, the US and the European Union (EU).