Top Council official tests positive for coronavirus

Council Secretary-General Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, the top civil servant who huddles with EU leaders during their highest-level summit meetings, has tested positive for coronavirus after a routine test conducted Tuesday, officials said.

Tranholm-Mikkelsen, a veteran Danish diplomat, has no symptoms of COVID-19, officials said, but will isolate, in accordance with medical guidelines.

Like other essential workers, and because of his routine proximity to leaders, Tranholm-Mikkelsen is tested on a regular basis. His most recent test prior to Tuesday, on October 14, was negative.

Officials said that Tranholm-Mikkelsen, 57, has adhered carefully to the Council’s strict health protocols, including social distancing in all meetings. While he was in meetings with Council President Charles Michel, the officials said all sanitary rules were followed and Michel was not considered at risk of infection because the two were not in close contact. Michel also tested negative on Thursday, officials said.

As infections have surged across Europe, a growing number of senior political figures have tested positive. Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmès, 45, is being treated in intensive care after testing positive last week. German Health Minister Jens Spahn, 40, also tested positive this week.

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