EU Commission Vice President self-isolates after exposure to coronavirus

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EU Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans, 58, went into self-isolation after a meeting with a French official who tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19). © Belga

The EU Commission Vice President tasked with steering the bloc’s Green Deal strategy has gone into isolation after a French official he met with tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Green Deal Commissioner Frans Timmermans went into isolation last week as a self-decided protective measure, Commission spokesperson Vivian Loonela told The Brussels Times.

Loonela said that the Dutch commissioner, aged 58, had chosen to self-quarantine after it was reported that French Secretary of State Brune Poirson, whom he met on 6 March, had tested positive for the virus.

“Mr Timmermans is feeling very well and is continuing his meetings via video conference,” Loonela said, adding that he would be remaining in quarantine until the end of the week.

The meeting between Timmermans and Poirson took place as the EU unveiled its plastics strategy last week, according to the Belga news agency.

Loonela said that since the Dutch commissioner was currently in “perfectly good shape,” he would not be tested for the virus because he did not meet Belgium’s testing criteria, which have been criticised for being too stringent.

The spokesperson could not immediately confirm whether other Commissioners or staffers were taking any measures following Timmermans’ meeting with Poirson.

News of Timmermans’ precautionary quarantine follows a similar decision by the EU Parliament President, Italian David Sassoli, who on 10 March announced he would be going into preventative self-isolation, after also cancelling all events in the EU Parliament building.

Gabriela Galindo
The Brussels Times

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