Austrian foreign minister tests positive for COVID-19 after EU meeting

Alexander Schallenberg, Federal Minister for European and International Affairs of Austria, attends a meeting between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, Baden-Wuerttemberg and the International Committee of Lake Constance, regarding the re-opening of the borders, amid COVID-19 crisis, in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has tested positive for the coronavirus and might have caught it at a meeting with his European Union counterparts on Monday, a spokeswoman for his ministry said on Saturday.

Schallenberg’s infection raises the prospect that the EU Foreign Affairs Council was a so-called super-spreader event. His Belgian counterpart Sophie Wilmes said on Friday she was going into self-isolation with suspected symptoms.

“It is suspected that Schallenberg might have been infected at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg on Monday,” the spokeswoman said, adding that he did not have symptoms and had been tested as a routine measure.

Schallenberg also attended a cabinet meeting on Wednesday but cabinet members wore face masks, the spokeswoman said. Austria’s cabinet had a scare less than two weeks ago when a close colleague of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s tested positive.

“As a precautionary measure all members of the government will be tested on Saturday,” the spokeswoman said.

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