Estonian president, delegation didn't come in contact with coronavirus at AIPAC Congress

  • 2020-03-09
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN – After it turned out that two participants of the Congress of the American Israel Public Relations Committee (AIPAC) held in Washington last week tested positive for the coronavirus, it has been determined that the Estonian delegation, led by President Kersti Kaljulaid, did not come in contact with those who tested positive for COVID-19.

"Yesterday, I returned from a working visit to the United States. However, information travels faster than people and before arriving home, we were informed that two COVID-19 virus cases had been detected at the AIPAC conference held in Washington," President Kersti Kaljulaid wrote on social media on Sunday. "This was a major event spanning several days, attended by tens of thousands of people, and where I was also one of the speakers on the main stage on Tuesday," the head of state added.

"When I arrived in Estonia, it was not yet possible to say with certainty whether myself and our delegation had been exposed to the virus carriers, so, after consulting our authorities and doctors, I decided not to attend the anniversary event of the Estonian Congress so as to mitigate the risks. I did it with a very heavy heart, but better to be safe than sorry, right? Virus samples were also taken from the whole delegation," Kaljulaid said.

"By now, it has become clear that we were not exposed to the virus carriers at AIPAC, the whole delegation also tested negative and no one has any symptoms. So in the new week, work will continue at its usual pace," the head of state said. "Of course, we are closely monitoring people's health, and I encourage everyone to do so. It is also worth following the recommendations of the Health Board regarding both hand washing and other relevant aspects. In case of doubt, it is always worthwhile to contact specialists and listen to their advice. The Estonian healthcare system and the people working there are of a very high standard!" she added.

Kaljulaid attended the Congress of the American Israel Public Relations Committee (AIPAC) held in Washington in the first half of last week. The organizers of the event announced on Friday that two of the participants had tested positive for the coronavirus. AIPAC organizers informed participants, speakers and Congress offices by e-mail that the infected persons had come to the Congress, which was held from March 1 to 3, from New York. Among other people, the AIPAC Congress was attended by US Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and several dozen US Congress members.

Kaljulaid returned from the US on Saturday.