File – In this Friday, June 25, 2021 file photo, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel leaves at the end of the first day of an EU summit in Brussels. Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was in observation in hospital early Monday, July 5, 2021 “as a precautionary measure” after he had tested positive for COVID-19 a week earlier. (Aris Oikonomou, Pool Photo via AP, File)
By RAF CASERT
Brussels (AP) — Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel has been hospitalized and is under observation “as a precautionary measure” after testing positive for COVID-19 a week earlier. A government official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said there was no update with new information early Monday after Bettel had been taken in for 24 hours of testing and medical analysis on Sunday.
The 48-year-old Bettel announced his positive test just after he had attended an European Union summit with 26 other leaders from the bloc for two days. At first he experienced only mild symptoms. But on Sunday, he had to be hospitalized. Bettel had received one COVID-19 vaccine dose in May and had been scheduled to get his second AstraZeneca shot on July 1.
“It was unfortunate that he tested positive just before that,” the official said.
EU summit organizers said they were confident that all virus precaution measures had been strictly adhered to during the two-day meeting. So far, no other leader has said he or she tested positive.
EU leaders have been grappling with the dangers of transmitting the virus during one of their many meetings for over a year now. Most of their summits have been held through videoconference and only when essential issues were dealt with that needed long in-person negotiations did the leaders convene at EU headquarters.
Last summer, a four-day summit on the budget and COVID-19 recovery plans was held at the Europa building, but with maximum social distancing. Many of the toughest negotiating sessions were even held on a sundeck in open air atop the summit building to reduce the risk of transmission even further.
The two-day summit that ended 10 days ago dealt with a series of pressing issues, but was highlighted by a tussle between Hungary and most of the other EU nations on LGBT issues. Bettel, who is married to a man, took center stage in defending the rights of LGBT people.
Source: Associated Press