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4 Mar, 2020 11:24

European Defence Agency CANCELS all meetings as two EU officials test positive for Coronavirus in Brussels – reports

European Defence Agency CANCELS all meetings as two EU officials test positive for Coronavirus in Brussels – reports

In a development that will surely send shivers through the European Union’s corridors of power, two officials working at the bloc’s administrative headquarters in Brussels have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

"We have confirmation of the case," spokesperson Dana Spinant said after the first case was revealed on Wednesday. Spinant added that reports about a male official working at the European Defence Agency contracting the virus were true, and that he had recently returned from a trip to Italy. 

The second case was confirmed just a few hours later on Wednesday with health officials revealing that the patient works in a security unit of the European Council and is believed to have been in contact with a previous case in Belgium.

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The European Defence Agency (EDA) has reportedly canceled all meetings to be held at its premises until March 13 as a precaution. The agency has also called off external meetings until mid-March. 

The supposedly senior EDA official who contacted the coronavirus reportedly met with a group of approximately 30 officials from other EU institutions last week.

The official began feeling unwell on Saturday, February 29th, and subsequent tests confirmed that he had indeed been infected with the coronavirus, the EURACTIV media network reports

Meanwhile, a member of military staff with European External Action Service (EEAS) who attended the same meeting has begun showing symptoms and is awaiting their test results. 

An EEAS source confirmed that attendees from the meeting have held several meetings or traveled out of the country since the possible infectious meeting. 

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Belgian health authorities confirmed a total of five new infections on Tuesday, bringing the total number in the country to 15. However, it has yet to be confirmed if this EU official ranks among them. 

All five had recently returned from Italy, according to the FPS Sante public health service. Two cases were residents of Flanders, two from Wallonia and one from Brussels, all presenting with "moderate" symptoms. 

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