Two Positive COVID-19 Cases in Blinken’s Flight Crew Were Not Disclosed During Southeast Asia Trip
- The Pentagon confirmed to CBS that two additional people on Antony Blinken’s Southeast Asia trip tested positive for COVID-19.
- Blinken’s trip was cut short on Wednesday after a journalist tested positive for COVID-19.
- Official statements about the journalist did not mention that additional members had tested positive.
The Pentagon confirmed Friday that two additional people traveling with Secretary of State Antony Blinken during his trip to Southeast Asia tested positive for COVID-19, CBS News reported.
Instead of continuing on for a scheduled visit to Thailand, the trip came to an early halt on Wednesday after one of the reporters in the press pool traveling with Blinken tested positive for COVID-19.
The State Department did not announce that two members of the Air Force flight crew also tested positive, and only acknowledged the cases in response to inquiries by CBS, the outlet reported.
At least one of the Air Force flight crew members received a positive COVID-19 test result one day before the reporter, a senior State Department official confirmed to CBS.
—Ruffini (@EenaRuffini) December 18, 2021
Officials with the State Department told CBS every member of the traveling party was required to take several COVID-19 tests throughout the trip, but that Department of Defense personnel do not have to undergo the same testing regime and can obtain waivers to avoid having to test in each country.
Blinken was supposed to visit the United Kingdom, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Hawaii but returned to the US out of “an abundance of caution,” according to a State Department press release on Friday, which also did not mention that additional members of the crew tested positive.
The State Department and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.