Pence Calls Off Planned Middle East Trip as Virus Cases Surge

Vice President Mike Pence won’t be traveling to the Middle East and Europe as planned next week amid global spikes in coronavirus cases, according to people familiar with the matter.

Pence had been discussing travel to countries including Israel, Bahrain and Belgium, after presiding over a Jan. 6 joint session of Congress to finalize President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, the people said. Pence’s office had never announced the trip.

The decision to cancel the travel plans -- which would have been Pence’s last overseas trip before leaving office -- comes amid overseas lockdowns and travel restrictions designed to curb the virus.

Europe has become an epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 400,000 coronavirus-related deaths and 16.2 million infections.

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