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EU chief von der Leyen ‘self-isolating’ until Tuesday

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen addresses media on the second day of a European Union (EU) summit at The European Council Building in Brussels on October 2, 2020. (Photo by JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP)

The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said Monday she would self-isolate for a day after learning she had met someone infected with new coronavirus.

The former German defence minister said she had tested negative twice — once last Thursday and again on Monday — but would continue her self-isolation “as foreseen by the regulations in force.”

Von der Leyen said she was at a meeting on Tuesday last week attended by a person who tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday.

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The head of the EU executive did not mention this in her announcement, but on that day she was visiting Lisbon for talks with senior Portuguese officials.

When she is in Brussels, von der Leyen generally stays in a small flat on the 13th floor of the European Commission’s Berlaymont headquarters, adjacent to her office.

Mariya Gabriel, the EU commissioner for research and innovation, also said on Monday that a member of her team had tested positive to the virus and that she and her cabinet were self-isolating.

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“I feel well and have no symptoms. Have a good week, stay safe!” Gabriel tweeted.

They are not the first senior EU official to be quarantined in recent weeks.

Last month the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, was forced to postpone a European leaders’ summit for a week after a security guard in his team tested positive.

The summit went ahead on Thursday and Friday last week, and was attended by Von der Leyen.

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