Blinken ends Covid quarantine, will head to Europe

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday ended a weeklong quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 and will travel to Europe this weekend, the State Department announced.

The top US diplomat will leave Saturday for Berlin where he will take part in a meeting of NATO foreign ministers who will discuss ways to support Ukraine as it counters a Russian invasion.

He will continue Sunday to Paris for a meeting of the US-EU Trade and Technology Council, an initiative by the Western powers to set standards in the face of China’s rapid advances.

Blinken on May 4 tested positive for Covid-19, days after joining more than 2,000 guests at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner in a packed Washington ballroom.

He has since worked remotely but was forced to cancel other travel, with State Department number three Victoria Nuland replacing him at a meeting in Morocco on defeating the Islamic State group and at a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers in northern Germany.

Blinken was set Thursday to resume public appearances with a meeting with Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai on the sidelines of a US-ASEAN Summit in Washington.

Blinken last year scrapped a stop in Thailand after a Covid outbreak within his traveling party.

Also on Thursday, Blinken will participate — virtually — in a summit convened by President Joe Biden on fighting Covid.

sct/bfm

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