Mar 17, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Irish leader tests positive for COVID before meeting with Biden

Taoiseach Micheal Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Photo: James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images

Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, less than a day before he was expected to meet with President Biden for St. Patrick's Day.

Driving the news: Martin learned of his positive test while at the Ireland Funds Gala, where President Biden was in attendance, according to a White House pool report. Biden instead met virtually with the taoiseach on Thursday.

  • White House officials said Biden was not in close contact with Martin during the event, which according to the CDC is being within 6 feet of someone for at least 15 minutes, according to the New York Times.
  • "I did at a little distance get to see you for seven and a half minutes yesterday," Biden said Thursday during his virtual meeting with the taoiseach.
  • Martin was seated next to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday night before he left the event after receiving the positive test, CBS News reports.
  • Martin tested negative on an antigen test on Wednesday afternoon, but he retested after a member of his delegation tested positive. The second, more reliable PCR test gave a positive result, per the pool report.

The big picture: Martin's positive test comes as a number of public officials have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent days, including second gentleman Doug Emhoff and multiple Democratic members of Congress.

Go deeper: Multiple House Democrats get COVID after retreat

Editor's note: This story has been updated with details from President Biden's meeting with Prime Minister Micheál Martin.

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