Barack Obama has "significantly scaled back" his 60th birthday party due to COVID-19 concerns
The former US President and his wife Michelle were planning to celebrate his big day next weekend with a huge guestlist - including friends, family and former staff - set for the bash at the family's estate in Martha's Vineyard, but this has now been reduced
6 August 2021
The family's spokeswoman Hannah Hankins told PEOPLE magazine: "This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place.
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"Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the [former] President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends.
"He's appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon."
Even before the event was cut back, Barack had not asked for any gifts, as he would prefer donations to the Obama Foundation's philanthropic projects.
The outdoor gathering will be held next weekend, and guests were told that they must undergo coronavirus testing and that the event will be overseen by a medical professional to ensure pandemic protocols are followed.
An insider recently said: "In lieu of gifts, guests are being asked to consider giving to programmes that work to support boys and young men of colour and their families here at home in the United States, empower adolescent girls around the world, and equip the next generation of emerging community leaders including the My Brother's Keeper Alliance, the Girls Opportunity Alliance, or the Obama Foundation's Global Leadership programmes."
Meanwhile, Obama recently claimed that there are things he "can't tell"
people about aliens.
The politician, who was in the White House between 2009 and 2017, told talk show host James Corden: "When it comes to aliens, there's some things I just can't tell you on air."
But he did reveal that he asked if there was a secret lab he needed to know about that was hiding alien information when he first became President.
He explained: "When I came into office, I asked, is there the lab somewhere where we're keeping the alien specimens and spaceship?
"They did a little bit of research and the answer is no, but what is true and I'm actually being serious here, is there are, there's footage and records of objects in the skies that we don't know exactly what they are."