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    EU employee tests positive for coronavirus

    An employee with the EU's Defence Agency tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to northern Italy. Credit: Pxfuel

    An EU employee in Brussels is among the ten new patients who tested positive for the new coronavirus on Wednesday, marking the first confirmed case within the EU institutions.

    The EU’s Defence Agency (EDA) confirmed that one of its staffers had tested positive for the new Covid-19 coronavirus after returning to Brussels from northern Italy.

    The agency said that the employee came back from Milan and Cortina on 23 February and that they first developed symptoms on 29 February.

    The staff member is currently at home in isolation and has so far exhibited “very light symptoms,” the agency added, confirming that the employee had not entered the agency’s buildings since the symptoms appeared.

    The EDA asked the “few staff members” who were in close contact with the sick employee to isolate themselves for 14 days as a precaution.

    As an additional measure, the agency has cancelled all meetings and events in its premises until 13 March and has ordered staff members not to attend any external meetings until that date either.

    The EU staffer is one among the 23 patients currently sick with Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, that Belgian authorities confirmed on Wednesday.

    News of the EU institutions’ first confirmed case of infection comes after the EU Parliament on Tuesday announced that it was cancelling all events planned in its building for a period of three weeks in an effort to keep the outbreak from spreading further.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times