US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday cut a weeklong trip short following news that a member of the traveling press pool had tested positive for COVID-19, Fox News reported.
Blinken was set to visit Thailand and Hawaii before returning to Washington, DC on Friday, following his stay in the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Blinken expressed his "deep regret" in a phone conversation with Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai that he would not be able to continue his trip from Kaula Lumpur, Malaysia to Bangkok.
The secretary explained that "in order to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 and to prioritize the health and safety of the US traveling party and those they would otherwise come into contact with, the secretary would be returning to Washington, DC out of an abundance of caution," State Department press secretary Ned Price told reporters.
Price told reporters Wednesday that, following routine PCR testing, a member of the press pool tested positive for the coronavirus upon arriving to Kaula Lumpur.
The individual then tested negative but will remain in isolation and continue to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for the remainder to the trip back to Washington, DC.
Blinken and his staff have all routinely tested negative for the coronavirus.
In late September, Price tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing symptoms.
Before testing positive, Price had been in close contact with Blinken during his meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York. Blinken tested negative at the time.
In late October, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for COVID-19. Psaki, who is vaccinated and had mild symptoms, returned to work after a 10-day quarantine following a negative test.
US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, tested positive for the virus several weeks before that and self-isolated at home.