The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, has revealed that he has tested positive for coronavirus, casting serious doubt over negotiations for a post-Brexit trade deal between the bloc and the UK.
Barnier announced his positive diagnosis on Twitter, saying that he was “doing well and in good spirits”.
In his tweet, he issued a rallying call to all affected by the outbreak, saying: “For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together”.
The next round of trade talks had been initially scheduled to take place in London this week, but they were called off in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and swathes of border closures.
What some already regarded as a tight negotiating window between now and the cut-off point of December 31 will now be even slimmer, with prime minister Boris Johnson having repeatedly declared he will not agree to an extension prior to now.
Whether an extension will be negotiated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to allow more time for trade talks remains to be seen.