On Sunday, Rep. Colin Allred announced that he had tested positive for COVID-19 after returning from a week-long trip to Europe. Allred had been part of a bipartisan delegation that met with officials in Belgium, and Ukraine, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“After testing negative before boarding our flight home and again when I returned home, I tested positive for COVID-19 today,” Allred said in a statement. “We were tested throughout our trip, including before meeting with President Zelensky and our meetings in Brussels.”
Allred added that he was vaccinated and boosted and only had mild symptoms so far. He has gone into quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines. “If you haven’t, please get your vaccination and booster shot as soon as you can,” concluded the statement.
Allred, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was in Europe to discuss the security situation with EU, NATO, and Ukrainian officials. Russian forces have been massing along the border with Ukraine for months, heightening fears that an invasion is imminent. Most experts believe that Moscow will use military force and President Biden has made a similar prediction, although the exact form Russian military action will take is less clear.
In spite of the diagnosis, Allred stressed the importance of the trip and brought back a message of unity and urgency. “The United States, our EU and NATO allies, and Ukraine, all stand united in working to deter Russian aggression at the Ukrainian border,” he said in a separate statement. “Ukraine is a vital democracy in the region and I saw firsthand the strong will and determination of its people to protect that democracy.”
This is the second time in recent months Allred has visited a beleaguered democracy facing a revisionist, autocratic neighbor and met with their head of state. In November, Allred was part of a similar bipartisan delegation that made a surprise trip to Taiwan and met with President Tsai Ing-Wen.