Michel Barnier, the chief Brexit negotiator of the European Union (EU), has announced he has tested positive for coronavirus.
The 69-year-old French politician becomes the highest-profile EU official to be confirmed as a COVID-19 patient since the outbreak began.
"I would like to inform you that I have tested positive for #COVID19," Barnier wrote on Twitter.
"I am doing well and in good spirits.
"I am following all the necessary instructions, as is my team.
"For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together."
I would like to inform you that I have tested positive for #COVID19. I am doing well and in good spirits. I am following all the necessary instructions, as is my team.— Michel Barnier (@MichelBarnier) March 19, 2020
For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together.
Even prior to Barnier’s announcement, the second round of post-Brexit trade negotiations that was due to take place in London this week had already been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
London is at the epicentre of Britain’s virus infections.
Speculation is mounting that the British Government will have to extend its self-imposed December 31 deadline to agree a deal with the EU.
Barnier was previously the Co-President of the Albertville 1992 Winter Olympic Games Organising Committee.
He served alongside Jean-Claude Killy, the Alpine skiing legend who subsequently served as head of the International Olympic Committee's Coordination Commissions for the Turin 2006 and Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Both were widely praised for their leadership roles in Albertville, with Barnier moving into politics and being appointed to the French Cabinet barely a year later.