WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House is postponing an upcoming state visit by Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The visit, including a black-tie state dinner to be hosted by President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, had been announced for April 21.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham cited the coronavirus pandemic in announcing the postponement on Wednesday.
She said in a statement that the decision was made so the U.S. and Spain can “continue to devote their full resources and attention'' to responding to the crisis. Grisham said the Trumps look forward to welcoming the royals “in the near future.”
The state visit would have been the third under Trump. French President Emmanuel Macron received the honor in April 2018, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in September 2019.
Spain has been on indefinite lockdown as the country struggles to control infections and deaths caused by the coronavirus.
In the U.S., Trump recently advised Americans to basically hunker down for a 15-day period and avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Older and health-compromised Americans are encouraged to stay home.
The visit by Spain's king and queen had been scheduled for the week after the annual White House Easter Egg Roll, which was being planned for April 13.
The first lady announced this week that she had canceled the holiday event because of coronavirus concerns.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may need three weeks to six weeks to recover.
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