Taoiseach tests positive for Covid-19 in Washington during St Patrick's Day visit
It's understood that the Taoiseach is self-isolating and feeling well.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has tested positive for Covid-19.
He is currently in Washington D.C. for St Patrick's Day-related celebrations.
He will now no longer be able to meet with US president Joe Biden in person on Thursday as part of the traditional shamrock ceremony at the White House.
It has been suggested that the event may now take place in a virtual capacity.
The news was revealed at the Ireland Funds Gala dinner in Washington on Wednesday evening, where the Taoiseach had been due to accept an award.
Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall took to the stage instead and explained to guests that the Taoiseach had unfortunately tested positive for Covid-19.
"I know you will all join with me in wishing the Taoiseach a speedy recovery,” he told the audience.
It was with a heavy heart that I accepted the @IrelandFundsAM leadership award on behalf of the Taoiseach @MichealMartinTD & delivered his speech at the National Gala. I filled in for the Taoiseach after he tested positive for #Covid19. I wish the Taoiseach well for his recovery.
— Daniel Mulhall (@DanMulhall) March 17, 2022
The Taoiseach had attended the event and was welcomed by Joe Biden and speaker of the United States House of Representative Nancy Pelosi, but left as soon as he found out he had tested positive via a PCR.
Officials accompanying him on his visit to the US said that the White House have confirmed Joe Biden is not a close contact.
The Taoiseach is now said to be feeling well despite his positive test.
He will likely have to remain in Washington and self-isolate as per Covid guidelines.
It now casts doubt on whether he can return to Ireland before Sunday, where he had planned to attend a National Day of Remembrance to commemorate all those who died during the Covid-19 pandemic.
On St Patrick's Day 2021, Mr. Martin had been forced to meet with the US president virtually due to the pandemic.
Both men said they had been looking forward to meeting in-person this year.
In a speech on Wednesday, the Taoiseach had said he was "concerned" over the recent growth in Covid numbers in Ireland.
"In respect of hospitals, my understanding is that quite a number of those, about 50%, are people who've arrived into hospital for other ailments but are diagnosed with Covid once inside," he stated.
"The problem for that really is more on the hospitals' organisation and configuration whereby because of isolation, it creates a real pressure on our hospitals.
"So, that's one aspect of that. The numbers in ICU are not rising as we speak."
Featured Image via Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie