Finland Prime Minister Sanna Marin, one of the world’s youngest elected leaders, apologized this week after facing backlash for spending a night out in Helsinki after she was exposed to COVID-19.
Marin explained in a Facebook post on Monday that she was told Saturday that Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto had tested positive after being in close contact with her. But she said she was told ministers were not asked to quarantine as long as they had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
So, Marin and her husband met with friends and went for dinner that night. The 36-year-old prime minister wrote on Facebook that she left her work phone at home and didn’t immediately receive further guidance recommending she avoid contact with others.
“I should have used better consideration on Saturday night … I’m really sorry,” she said in the post, as translated in multiple reports. She added that she tested negative for the virus on Sunday.
170 hospital staff went to a Christmas party:Then 68 tested positive for COVID-19
Stay open ‘as long as possible’:Europe’s Christmas markets warily open as COVID cases rise
A gossip magazine published photos of Marin in a nightclub on Saturday and reported that she was dancing until 4 a.m., according to the BBC.
Critics of the leader asked why she did not isolate until she tested negative for COVID-19.
Finland’s pandemic guidelines say people who are fully vaccinated do not need to isolate after coming into contact with someone who tests positive. However, the guidelines urge people to avoid coming into contact with others if they are waiting for a test, according to the BBC.
Guidelines for government ministers and employees do recommend limiting contact after an exposure.
Finland has reported 194,638 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to a count from Johns Hopkins. They have documented 1,383 deaths.
When elected in 2019, Marin became the world’s youngest prime minister, a title she yielded a year later when Sebastian Kurz, 33, was elected to lead Austria in 2020.