Reports of a planned birthday party for former President Barack Obama with allegedly hundreds of invited guests are causing a stir because of the rising corona numbers in the USA. "This event is taking place in the open air according to all public reports," White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday. She responded to a reporter's question as to whether Obama would not send the wrong signal with a big celebration at this time. Psaki gave no further details about the celebration and referred to Obama's office. She stressed that the former president is a great advocate of vaccination.

Several US media had previously reported that Obama was planning a big celebration on the fashionable Atlantic island of Martha's Vineyard on the occasion of his 60th birthday over the weekend.

The news page "Axios" said that the guests had to be vaccinated and had to show corona tests.

There is a special coordinator for compliance with the Covid rules.

"Axios" wrote, citing an unnamed source from the Obama's circle, that 475 guests were expected.

The news site "The Hill" reported that the celebration was taking place on the luxury property that the Obamas bought in 2019: a beach villa with seven bedrooms and around 640 square meters of living space on a 120,000 square meter property - the latter corresponds to more than 16 soccer fields.

The former president's office initially did not respond to a request about the celebration. Obama turns 60 this Wednesday.