Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union have been paused after one of the negotiators tested positive for the coronavirus.
EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier announced with the UK's chief Brexit negotiator David Frost on Thursday that the talks had been suspended after the diagnosis.
It comes after an EU official said on Monday it would be the last chance to hammer out a trade deal with officials in London before the UK leaves the single market in January.
In a tweet published on Thursday, Barnier said: "Update: one of the negotiators in my team has tested positive for Covid-19.
"With @DavidGHFrost, we have decided to suspend the negotiations at our level for a short period. The teams will continue their work in full respect of guidelines."
Frost responded on his Twitter page that he was in "close contact" with Barnier about the situation.
He added: "The health of our teams comes first. I would like to thank the @EU_Commission for their immediate help and support."
Neither Frost nor Barnier confirmed if they also had tested positive for the virus.
If a deal is not struck before the end of the deadline, tariffs and other trade barriers will be imposed, which could wreak havoc on businesses and supply chains.
Officials in Brussels and London have been racing against the clock to wrap up a deal but negotiations have yielded meagre progress.
Australian Associated Press