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Portuguese finance minister tests positive for coronavirus after meeting top EU officials

FILE PHOTO: Portugal's Finance Minister Joao Leao speaks during an interview with Reuters in Lisbon, Portugal, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

LISBON (Reuters) - Portugal’s Finance Minister Joao Leao has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said on Saturday, a day after he took part in an in-person meeting in Lisbon with top EU officials including Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

The 46-year-old minister has so far shown no symptoms and will continue to work from home during a period of self-isolation, a statement from his ministry said. Self-isolation could last between 10 to 14 days.

Leao’s positive test result was announced more than 24 hours after he attended the meeting at the Belem Cultural Center on Friday to discuss Portugal’s top priorities during its six-month EU presidency, which started this month.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa was also at the meeting, as were several other ministers and secretaries of state. Costa recently had to self-isolate for 14 days after a lunch with French President Emmanuel Macron, who then tested positive for the virus.

Several EU officials travelled to Lisbon for the meeting, including von der Leyen, the Commission’s Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager -- all of whom were present.

Official images of the meeting shared on the government website showed it took place in a large room and all participants wore face masks.

Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Clelia Oziel

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