EU’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier has tested positive for the coronavirus

The coronavirus outbreak, though, has already raised questions as to whether a Brexit trade deal can now be completed in time

European Commission's Head of Task Force for Relations with the United Kingdom Michel Barnier

The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, announced Thursday he has tested positive for the new coronavirus. The 69-year-old French civil servant has been in charge of all negotiations between the European Union and the United Kingdom, after the latter requested to leave the political bloc in March 2017. 

Barnier had been also leading the second phase of negotiations between the EU and the UK, aimed at putting together a trade deal before the end of the year. Thursday’s announcement will no doubt raise questions on the timetable for the talks, as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed not to extend trade talks beyond 2020.

Announcing the news, Barnier tweeted that he’s “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,” he added. 

Barnier's announcement prompted a series of good wishes messages, including from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel. A US government spokesperson also said Thursday that Downing Street sent Barnier their best wishes, Reuters reported.

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