Danish minister tests positive ahead of EU Covid talks

Denmark’s health minister was self-isolating in a Brussels hotel on Tuesday after he came to the EU capital for talks on the Covid-19 pandemic only to test positive himself.

The Danish health ministry said Magnus Heunicke had taken a test early in the day, before his planned meeting with his 26 European Union counterparts.

From his room, Heunicke sent a personal Facebook message, confirming that he had previously been double vaccinated and has only “mild symptoms with primarily a sore throat”.

“For me it’s first and foremost about making sure I do not become part of a chain of infection that strikes others,” he said.

“I have had to cancel the Council of Ministers meeting today with my colleagues, and now it’s under the duvet where I’m trying to let my immune system do the rest.”

The self-isolation should limit potential exposure to officials in Brussels, but the minister did travel on Copenhagen’s metro and suburban S-train rail network on Friday.

Heunicke, 46, also attended a Christmas lunch at Denmark’s health ministry on Friday, and all staff who have been identified as close contacts have been advised to get tests.

“It cannot be determined where the minister of health was infected,” the ministry said. 

The other EU health ministers met as planned to discuss stepping up measures to counter the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in light of the spread of the Omicron variant.