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Kamala Harris pauses in-person campaigning after staffer diagnosed with COVID-19

Kamala Harris pauses in-person campaigning after staffer diagnosed with COVID-19

Democratic US vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris faces reporters in a hangar after she and Democratic US presidential nominee Joe Biden arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, US, Oct 8, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

WASHINGTON: US Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will cancel her travel plans through Sunday (Oct 18) after one of her staff members tested positive for COVID-19, the campaign said in a statement.

Harris, who the campaign said tested negative for the coronavirus on Wednesday and is set to be tested again on Thursday, had planned an aggressive travel schedule in the run-up to the Nov 3 election between her running mate Joe Biden and President Donald Trump.

She was scheduled to appear in North Carolina on Thursday, a competitive battleground state where early voting just started and Trump is due to campaign as well.

But the campaign said it learned late on Wednesday that Harris' communications director, Liz Allen, and a flight crew member had tested positive for the virus. Both traveled with the Democratic senator during a campaign trip in Arizona on Oct 8.

Harris was not in close contact with either infected person during the two days prior to their diagnosis, the Biden campaign said in a statement and call with reporters. Harris wore a mask during the flight she shared with Allen and the flight crew member, who both tested negative before and after the flight.

Harris did not need to quarantine, campaign manager Jen O'Malley Dillon said in a statement, but "out of an abundance of caution" would cancel travel and campaign virtually before hitting the road again on Oct 19.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the United States particularly hard, killing more people than any other country, and upending the 2020 presidential race.

Democrats especially have increased their use of virtual campaigning, fundraising and get-out-the-vote efforts to limit the spread and avoid unnecessary health risks.

Trump contracted the virus himself earlier this month, leaving him sidelined from his signature campaign rallies, which have continued to draw large crowds and many attendees without protective masks.

Harris' husband, Doug Emhoff, planned to cancel his travel on Thursday but resume in-person events on Friday since he and Harris have tested negative multiple times, the Biden campaign said.

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Source: AGENCIES/nh

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