First lady Jill Biden will travel to Tokyo later this month for the 2021 Olympic Summer Games, her office announced Tuesday after questions as to whether the trip could happen due to Covid-19 restrictions at the Games.
But Biden is now set to travel.
“First Lady Jill Biden will travel to the Opening Ceremony of the 2021 Olympic Summer Games in Tokyo, Japan. The Opening Ceremony of the 2021 Olympic Summer Games will be held on July 23, 2021. Additional information and details to come,” the Office of the First Lady said in a statement.
President Joe Biden will not be joining the first lady at the Olympics, per two senior administration officials. So, the trip will mark Jill Biden’s first solo international trip since her husband took office. She previously accompanied him on his trip to the United Kingdom for the G7 leaders’ summit and has kept a busy domestic travel schedule in recent months as part of the administration’s efforts to encourage vaccinations.
The White House has maintained its support for the Olympic Games despite rising Covid-19 case rates in Japan.
“The President supports the Tokyo Olympic Games and the public health measures necessary to protect athletes, staff, and spectators. He has pride in the US athletes who have trained for Tokyo Games and will be competing in the best traditions of the Olympic spirit,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week amid news that Japan declared a state of emergency in Tokyo ahead of the games.
The US is in “close contact” with the Japanese government on planning and public health measures, Psaki added.
Dr. Anthony Fauci also expressed confidence in Covid-19 safety protocols at the forthcoming games and suggested that he was not concerned about the first lady’s attendance.
“That’s going to be up to the first lady. I believe that there’s no reason right now given the situation — the protocol to protect her health, I think, will be also rather stringent, so I don’t have a concern about that. But the final choice of what she’d do, obviously, is up to her,” Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said last Thursday.
Fauci noted the “quite strict and stringent” protocols in place for the athletes, which he described as “quite impressive.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
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