By Kate Bennett, CNN
First daughter Ashley Biden has tested positive for Covid-19 and is no longer joining first lady Jill Biden on a trip to South and Central America, according to the first lady’s press secretary, Michael LaRosa.
Ashley Biden had been scheduled to depart with the first lady Wednesday afternoon for Ecuador. Jill Biden is scheduled to also travel to Panama and Costa Rica on the trip, before returning to Washington on Monday.
“Ashley Biden is not considered a close contact to the President and first lady,” LaRosa said.
This is the second planned trip with the first lady Ashley Biden has missed. She had also been scheduled to join Jill Biden’s trip to Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine earlier this month, but prior to departing the White House, it was announced that she had been exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid.
In Ecuador, Jill Biden is scheduled to meet with President Guillermo Lasso, and deliver a keynote speech focused on democracy and the challenges of migrating Latin Americans, according to an official. The trip comes as the Biden administration faces several challenges on the immigration front, including a heated debate over Title 42, a Trump-era pandemic restriction that allows migrants to be turned away at the US-Mexico border because of the public health crisis.
Jill Biden will also visit an elementary school that is “hosting a US-supported accelerated learning program that helps Ecuadorian, Venezuelan, and Colombian teenagers — who were previously out of school for at least two years — rejoin the formal school system,” says the release, a visit she will make with Ecuador first lady Maria de Lourdes Alcivar de Lasso.
In Panama, Jill Biden will hold joint events with the first lady of that country, Yazmín Colón de Cortizo. She will also visit a health care facility in Panama City that is supported by the United States’ PEPFAR program.
In Costa Rica, the first lady plans to meet one-on-one with President Rodrigo Chaves, who took office on May 8.
On Sunday, she will tour the National Children’s Hospital of Costa Rica, which was part of a visit made by then-President John F. Kennedy during his March 1963 visit to that country. Biden is scheduled to deliver remarks after her tour.
Jill Biden’s Latin America visit will also serve as a precursor to the Summit of the Americas, being held in June in Los Angeles. The summit convenes every three to four years and brings together leaders of North, South, and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. This year will be the first time the United States has hosted the summit since its inception in 1994.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.
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