European Commission Vice Presidents Valdis Dombrovskis and Margrethe Vestager and Commissioner Elisa Ferreira went into self-isolation Sunday after meeting a Portuguese minister in Lisbon who later tested positive for the coronavirus.
But neither Commission President Ursula von der Leyen nor other commissioners who also took part in Friday’s trip to meet Portuguese ministers “fulfill the criteria to be considered contact persons,” the Commission said Sunday.
The positive test of João Leão, Portugal’s finance minister, was revealed on Saturday, a day after the visit by a delegation from the College of Commissioners to mark the start of the country’s six-month presidency of the Council of the EU.
”The Portuguese authorities have informed us that Finance Minister João Leão tested positive for COVID-19 after the end of the Presidency visit by the College,” the Commission said in a statement.
The Commission said Vestager, Dombrovskis and Ferreira “are considered contact persons” and “will respect the Belgian rules for quarantine as of today.” Those rules mean self-isolation, taking a test after seven days and staying in quarantine until the result is known, with “exemption to exercise essential functions,” the Commission said.
Vestager and Dombrovskis are two of von der Leyen’s three executive vice presidents, her top deputies. Vestager, a former Danish minister, is the Commission’s antitrust chief and top official for digital policy. Dombrovskis, an ex-prime minister of Latvia, has overall responsibility for the economy and trade. Ferreira, who is from Portugal, is the commissioner for cohesion and reforms.
Leão is “confined at home” but has not shown any symptoms of COVID-19, according to a statement from his ministry quoted by Portuguese news agency Lusa. He was continuing to work from home, the statement said.
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