President Biden canceled his one-on-one meetings with Irish Prime Minister Michael Martin on Thursday after the prime minister received a positive result in a coronavirus test during a party in Washington on Wednesday night attended by the two men.
Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, confirmed the positive test early Thursday, complicating the prime minister’s plans to spend the day with Mr Biden at traditional St Patrick’s Day festivities.
Instead, Mr. Biden and Mr. Martin met virtually on Thursday morning, with Biden seated near a TV screen showing Mr. Martin, with a pot of shamrocks on the coffee table. The president said he was “deeply sorry for the inconvenience” of the default format.
White House officials said Biden, who is 79 and has been vaccinated and boosted, had not been in close contact with Mr. Martin during Wednesday’s ceremony, which The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines it as being within six feet of someone for at least 15 minutes. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Biden is undergoing a weekly coronavirus check, and that his last test was on Sunday.
“We, of course, adhere to what his doctor’s recommendations and advice are,” she said at a news conference Thursday. “And if it does increase testing, we will certainly do so. But he doesn’t feel that it is necessary at this point in time based on these recent contacts.”
The prime minister’s test result came amid a flurry of infections among government officials in Washington in recent days. at most Nine Democrats in Congress have tested positive This week after the party’s retreat and late-night vote last week. Douglas ImhoffVice President Kamala Harris’ husband also tested positive this week, as did her Former President Barack Obama.
White House officials have downplayed the recent wave of cases, noting that the overall rate in Washington remains too low. Ms. Psaki said Thursday that the new subsidiary Omicron, Known as BA.2has been circulating around the country for some time now, and the administration has been watching cases in Europe And in China. New cases in the United States have fallen from the peak of the omicron increase.
“We expect some volatility, especially at this relatively low level,” Ms. Psaki said, adding that the country Better positioned to manage the epidemic.
“It has not gone away, which means we still need to continue to take possible steps to combat the virus,” she said.
- death cases
About this data
Sources: state and local health agencies (cases, deaths); US Department of Health and Human Services (Hospitalization).
Mr. Mulhall He said on Twitter That he accepted Mr Martin’s Leadership Award on Wednesday at the Ireland Funds Gala in Washington, an event also attended by Mr Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I responded to Taoiseach after he tested positive #Covid 19He wrote using the Irish word for leader of the country. “I wish Taoiseach good luck for his recovery.”
The spokesperson’s office confirmed that Ms. Pelosi, Who has been vaccinated? And boost up, he tested negative on a PCR test Thursday morning, and will continue regular testing and To follow CDC guidelines, although it was not clear which one. It was not clear if the treating physician’s office considered Ms Pelosi, 81, to be in close contact.
Ms Pelosi, who was photographed sitting next to Mr. Martin during the ceremony, appeared at her weekly press conference on Thursday, adding that she gets tested almost every day. Mr. Martin remained masked until food was served, she said, and was pulled aside during the appetizer course about his positive test.
“We are very sad that on St. Patrick’s Day, the Tawish family had this diagnosis,” she said at her internal press conference, where she removed her mask to speak and answer questions. “We will not be able to take advantage of the honor of his presence.”
A scheduled lunch – The Friends of Ireland Luncheon on Capitol Hill – began on Thursday, without Mr. Martin present. Mrs. Pelosi address the room, where lawmakers sat at round tables, while introducing Mr. Biden, who sat on a chair a few meters away. Neither of them wore a mask, and there were only a few face coverings in the room.
“The Irish children have blessed America, and one of those Irish children is now the President of the United States,” Pelosi said before shaking hands and taking the podium. Mr. Biden spoke, but did not stay for lunch.
Irish journalists traveling with Mr Martin’s delegation have reported that he attended the first part of the ceremony, and photos from the event appear to show him sitting next to Mrs Pelosi.
An Irish government spokesman said in a statement on Thursday that the prime minister tested negative for the virus earlier on Wednesday and also on Sunday, before traveling to the United States.
The statement said his second test on Wednesday was taken after a member of the prime minister’s delegation obtained a positive test result.
Mr Mulhall did not say whether Mr Martin was showing symptoms.
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