King Filip and 6 party leaders test negative after COVID-19 scare

Filip, King of Belgians, has tested negative for coronavirus.  The king and six party leaders all got tested after liberal leader Egbert Lachaert came down with coronavirus.  Mr Lachaert is leading talks on the formation of a new Belgian government.

The king and all the party leaders Mr Lachaert is negotiating with got tested as a precaution. Only party leaders who sat close to Mr Lachaert at meetings were obliged to do so. King Filip last saw Mr Lachaert on Friday. The king wasn’t obliged to get tested.  This is only necessary if the two had met during the two days preceding a positive test and social distancing hadn’t been observed.  The palace notes that during their last meeting the area was ventilated and the two men kept their distance.

Meanwhile it has emerged the party leaders won’t have any meetings in person until 18 September.  In the meantime contacts will continue electronically.

Alexander De Croo, who is stepping in for Mr Lachaert, has also tested negative. Mr Lachaert’s close contacts will observe quarantine. The Flemish liberal leader is poorly.  He has complained of a lack of energy, a temperature and says it’s a state of being he wishes on nobody.

Mr Lachaert and Flemish socialist leader Conner Rousseau were supposed to report to King Filip on progress on Friday 11 September.  Thursday 17 September is seen as a deadline because PM Wilmès needs to request a new mandate from parliament. Staff are working online on draft texts, while party leaders will discuss progress in a video conference tomorrow.

Top stories