Finland’s PM left an EU summit where she dined with dozens of world leaders, a precaution after discovering possible exposure to COVID-19

Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin arriving for an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium October 15, 2020 Olivier Matthys/Reuters

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin left an EU summit early “as a precautionary measure” after learning she had been exposed to the coronavirus, the Finnish government said Friday.

The day before the summit, she attended Finnish parliamentary meetings and shared a corridor with a lawmaker who then tested positive.

Between the contact and the test, Marin took part in a meeting and dinner with EU leaders including France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Marin is showing no symptoms but will be tested on her return, according to a spokesperson.

A spokesman for the European Council told Business Insider that extensive social distancing was in place at the meetings. 

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Finland’s Prime Minister left a top-level European Union meeting on Friday after learning that someone she had contact with earlier that week had tested positive for COVID-19.

Sanna Marin flew home from Brussels to be tested “as a precautionary measure,” she wrote on social media. A spokesperson for Marin told Business Insider that she has no symptoms. 

Before learning of her exposure, Marin attended two working sessions and a working dinner on Thursday and Friday with dozens of European leaders.

The guest list included French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A spokesman for the summit, Ester Arauzo-Azofra, told Business Insider that the events Marin attended had strict social distancing and were held in large rooms to “avoid any close contact.”

An EU source told Business Insider that meetings are arranged with 5-foot gaps between delegates, with mask use and distancing rules throughout the building.

On Wednesday, Marin attended two committee meetings at the Finnish parliament with Tom Packalen, an MP who since tested positive for COVID-19. Packalen has mild flu-like symptoms, according to the Associated Press (AP). 

Although the parliament operates with strict social distancing, Marin also had been in the same corridors as Packalen, according to Marko Ruonala, a spokesperson for Finland’s representation in the EU. 

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It is not clear how physically close they were in the corridor. Marin wears masks wherever possible, Runuola told Business Insider.

President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen holds a news conference on the EU response to the coronavirus disease in April. Reuters

The move comes one day after the EU’s top official, Ursula von der Leyen, also left the meeting after one of her staff members tested positive for COVID-19, the AP reported.

Two other European officials also left over reported exposure, according to the agency.

Marin appointed Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to work on Finland’s behalf at the EC summit, a move made possible by the close historical ties between the countries and their current governments’ similar party positions. 

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