Coronavirus will not stop Brexit happening by the end of the year

Mar 28, 2020 8:21 PM ET

Brexit will not be blocked by the coronavirus pandemic and the UK will continue trade talks with the EU, Downing Street has announced.

The British Prime Minister is adamant that the UK will out of the transition period by 31 December, even if there is no trade deal.

Trade negotiations have stopped after the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier tested positive for coronavirus.

On Friday Boris Johnson and the Health Secretary Matt Hancock both tested positive for coronavirus, and the UK’s chief negotiator also went into self-isolation after displaying “mild symptoms.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said, “In terms of the timetable, there is no change from our point of view,” despite all testing positive.

A source to the EU said it has been “impossible” to hold talks via video link because no one can agree on the exact format.

The EU source said, “It has proved impossible to have video conference, but we are still trying to make a way to work.”

A senior EU diplomat said, “Depending on how coronavirus evolves, we might run into problems with how to deal with the negotiations with the UK.

“We have already said it would be a tight schedule to get everything done within one year, and now negotiations are formally ongoing but very difficult to do, I think that only strengthens the argument that many of us had that we need more than one year.”

Meanwhile, Public Health England (PHE) appeared to provide hope that one million home testing kits for coronavirus could be sent out within weeks.

Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at PHE, confirmed plans were in place for “a million tests that people can do themselves.”

The Professor told the health and social care committee on Thursday, “In other words, members of the public will be able to take a blood test and send it back in the post and get that analysed.

“That is an antibody test that tells you if you have had the condition.

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