Joe Biden (left) and Kamala Harris. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA
Joe Biden (left) and Kamala Harris. Picture: REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA

Washington — Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris has canceled her travel until Monday after her communications director and a member of her flight crew tested positive for Covid-19, the Biden campaign said on Thursday.

The campaign said the California senator was not in “close contact” with communications director Liz Allen or the crew member in the days before they tested positive, but her travel would be paused “out of an abundance of caution”. Neither infected person was in contact with presidential nominee Joe Biden, whose travel schedule won’t be interrupted.

Harris was to visit North Carolina on Thursday and to travel daily until election day on November 3. The cases are the first confirmed coronavirus illnesses in the Biden campaign. They come after US President Donald Trump and dozens of White House staff contracted the virus last month.

“This shows how seriously we take Covid-19, how we have, since March, done everything in our power as a campaign to ensure the safety of our staff and our volunteers and voters, and we’ll continue to do so,” campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon said on a call with reporters.

The campaign said the two people traveled with Harris on October 8 then attended personal events. They were both tested on Wednesday in preparation for Harris’s North Carolina trip and tested positive then. Harris has taken two tests since that time and both were negative, including on Wednesday, the campaign said. She will be tested again on Thursday.

Harris has been in Washington this week for the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, which she attended virtually out of concern about Republican members of the Senate judiciary committee who didn’t abide by coronavirus safety protocols.

Everyone else who was traveling with Harris on October 8 has also had multiple negative tests in the past week, the campaign said.

Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, will also cancel the travel he had planned for Thursday. All of his Covid-19 tests have been negative as well and he will return to in-person campaigning on Friday. The campaign has begun the contact tracing process to notify everyone who came into contact with the people during the time they may have been infected.

The Biden campaign has sought to convey a sense of responsibility and caution around the virus, requiring that all staff, press and event attendees wear masks, and abide by local rules about group gatherings.

The campaign’s disclosure in a press release and conference call with reporters the morning after the positive tests contrasted with the White House’s approach around the Covid-19 cases there, which emerged through leaks to reporters.


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