EU commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday (15 October) left a summit attended by the bloc’s 27 leaders after learning that a staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I have just been informed that a member of my front office has tested positive to COVID-19 this morning,” she said in a tweet.
“I myself have tested negative, however, as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation,” she said.
I have just been informed that a member of my front office has tested positive to COVID-19 this morning. I myself have tested negative.
However as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation.
— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) October 15, 2020
This is the second time this month von der Leyen has gone into self-imposed isolation after being in touch with a person infected with the virus.
The Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki didn’t come to the summit and is reportedly in self-isolation after being in contact with an infected person. His country is being represented by the Czech PM Andrej Babis.
EURACTIV was informed that several leaders reluctantly came to Brussels at a time when Belgium is officially in the “second wave” of the coronavirus pandemic, with record rates of daily infections.
Council officials made assurances on Wednesday that extra measures had been taken to minimize risks of contamination, and that close contacts would be made “impossible”.
Different EU institutions have their own policy on coronavirus. The European Parliament has consistently been more strict than the Commission. On Wednesday, the Parliament announced it will hold next week’s plenary session by videoconference as a precaution against the coronavirus.