THE European Union’s (EU’s) lead negotiator on future relations with Britain, Michel Barnier, on Thursday tested positive for COVID-19, the potentially fatal respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.
“I will like to inform you that I have tested positive for COVID-19. I’m doing well and in good spirits.
“For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together,” he said.
The 69-year-old had been due for the next round of talks in London on Wednesday covering issues including a crucial free trade agreement that ought to be finalised before the end of 2020.
However, the face-to-face talks were canceled due to the pandemic.
There have been close to 71,000 cases of COVID-19 so far confirmed in the EU and Britain.
Europe is at the epicentre of the crisis at the moment.
Britain left the EU on Jan. 31 but remained in a transition period until the end of 2020 while the duo seeks to strike a deal on business and cooperation on the world stage together.
The face-to-face talks, scheduled every two to three weeks for the next few months, seem unlikely to go ahead as planned.
The coronavirus crisis threatens to derail negotiations, raising the question of whether British Prime Minister Boris Johnson would have to extend the transition period. In spite of solemn promise to stick to the end of 2020 deadline for a complete exit. (dpa/NAN)
– Mar. 19, 2020 @ 15:17 GMT |