Brexit talks suspended after negotiator tested positive for coronavirus

EU makes final push to reach an agreement with the UK

On Thursday, Mr Barnier tweeted that a member of his negotiating team had tested positive for the virus, as talks over a deal continued in Brussels. Talks among lower-ranking officials will continue in the meantime.

Valdis Dombrovskis, a European Commission vice-president, said yesterday: 'The negotiations are ongoing with great intensity because we are now in the final push to reach agreement.

In reply, Lord Frost said he was in "close contact with Michel Barnier about the situation", and "the health of our teams comes first".

The EU and Britain are very close to agreement on most issues as time runs out for a trade deal but they are still at odds over fishing rights, guarantees of fair competition and ways to solve future disputes, an EU official told ambassadors in Brussels.

Analysts at ING said that there was scope on the upside for sterling against the dollar, while they saw limited upside versus the euro given the lack of a "material announcement on the negotiations".

Mr Barnier added their teams would continue discussions in "full respect" of safety guidelines.

Brussels maintains that to enjoy free trade Britain must continue to bow to European Union rules, regulations, and courts - something Brexiteers in the United Kingdom maintain would be a betrayal of the 2016 referendum and a failure to deliver Brexit.

Lord Frost also self-isolated after developing symptoms.

The Brexit trade negotiations have been suspended Thursday Nov. 19, 2020, at a crucial stage because an European Union negotiator has tested positive for the coronavirus and European Union chief negotiator Michel Barnier said that "we have made a decision to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period".

Officials have continued to work remotely in order to certify the terms of the trade deal, which would become operational in just six weeks after the United Kingdom leaves the EU's Single Market and Customs Union. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized in April and is now back in coronavirus quarantine until next Thursday.

Both UK and EU diplomats agreed that no swift end was sight in the negotiations with the Europeans urging British premier Boris Johnson to make a move. Both sides had hoped to get a trade deal by then to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs and businesses that could suffer if Brexit leads to a sharp end to existing trade relations.

They are also negotiating how closely the United Kingdom should have to follow the EU's social, labour, and environmental standards after the transition.

One EU diplomat said the British proposal fell short of the bloc's demand for a body independent from the government and with a clear mandate.



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