Biden tests negative for Covid-19 days away from G20 summit

U.S. President Joe Biden leaves following services at St. Edmond’s Catholic Church in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, September 3, 2023.

Amanda Andrade-Rhoades | Reuters

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden tested negative Monday night for Covid-19, a day after his wife tested positive and three days before he is scheduled to travel overseas.

Biden is negative and not experiencing any symptoms, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

First lady Jill Biden tested positive on Monday night, but so far she has experienced mild symptoms, the White House said. The Bidens were at their home together in Rehoboth, Delaware, over Labor Day weekend after stopping in Florida on Saturday to survey damage caused by Hurricane Idalia. The president last saw the first lady on Monday morning before he traveled to an event in Philadelphia.

The first lady will remain in Delaware for the rest of the week, Jean-Pierre said.

The president is scheduled to depart for India on Thursday to attend the Group of 20 summit, and then go on to visit Hanoi, Vietnam, on Sunday. On Monday, Biden will be in Alaska to observe the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

If Biden were to test positive for Covid in the next few days, he could attend the G20 meetings virtually, like his predecessor Donald Trump did during the Covid pandemic.

If he were forced to stay home, the president could accidentally find himself in ignominious company. Russian President Vladimir Putin will not be attending the conference for the second year in a row, and Chinese President Xi Jinping also plans to skip it.

“I am disappointed,” Biden said of Xi’s absence, “but I am going to get to see him.”

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