Plexiglass to separate candidates at vice presidential debate

Plexiglass to separate candidates at vice presidential debate
A worker hangs a banner as preparations take place for the vice presidential debate outside Kingsbury Hall at the University of Utah (Patrick Semansky/AP)

Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will be separated by a see-through barrier to reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission at Wednesday’s vice presidential debate.

The Democratic campaign requested the plexiglass shield between the candidates, according to a campaign aide.

The debate in Salt Lake City will come less than a week after US President Donald Trump tested positive for the virus.

It is the only planned debate between the two vice presidential contenders and will take on heightened attention following the president’s diagnosis.

Democratic vice presidential candidate, Kamala Harris will debate Mr Pence on Thursday (Patrick Semansky/AP)

The two will be seated more than three metres from each other during the matc-hup, according to a person familiar with the debate setup who wished to remain anonymous.

Mr Trump and Joe Biden debated last Tuesday while standing at podiums.

Mr Pence will appear despite recent exposure to people who have tested positive for the virus, though he has not tested positive himself.

He attended a Rose Garden ceremony on September 26 for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett alongside a handful of people who have now tested positive for the virus, including Mr Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence left Washington for Utah ahead of the vice presidential debate (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people stay at home for 14 days after their last exposure to someone with coronavirus.

Mr Pence, who travelled to Utah on Monday, is taking a lead role in the reelection campaign while Mr Trump recovers and is unable to hold rallies or other campaign events.

Ms Harris, meanwhile, has been in Utah since Saturday to prepare for the debate, and last reported a negative test on Friday and campaigned in Las Vegas later that day.

The president’s diagnosis puts a new spotlight on the vice presidential debate and on the continued presence of the virus, a key campaign message for Mr Biden and Ms Harris.

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