Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin leaves European Union summit to self-isolate

EU leaders to hold almost weekly video-conferences on Covid-19 pandemic

EU leaders to hold almost weekly video-conferences on Covid-19 pandemic

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin left an European Union summit on Friday to self-isolate as a precaution after attending a meeting this week with a Finnish MP who has since tested positive for Covid-19, the government said.

On Twitter, Sanna Marin wrote she was leaving the European Council meeting in Brussels and asked Sweden's prime minister, Stefan Lofven, to represent Finland at the talks, where leaders were wearing face masks and keeping their distance amid a spike in COVID-19 infections across Europe.

She had attended a meeting on Wednesday with politician Tom Packalen who has since developed flu symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.

Marin's early departure follows a similar decision by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who left the meeting Thursday to self-isolate after learning one of her support staff members had tested positive. She will then go directly to the prime minister's residence at Kesäranta in Helsinki where she will remain in quarantine.

But they held their last summit just two weeks ago, and Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen questioned the need to meet again in person this week.

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European Union leaders have agreed to hold video conferences nearly on a weekly basis to coordinate national measures against the COVID-19 pandemic, as the continent battles a spike in infections.

Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stayed away from the beginning so that he could self-isolate at home.

United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson, 56, and U.S. president Donald Trump, 74, were both hospitalised after contracting the virus, while Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro, 65, rode out his isolation period at home.

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Marin is already en route back to Helsinki, where she will undergo a coronavirus test. 'This is not an ordinary job or a normal life but heavy in many ways.

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