BERLIN: German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday (Oct 21) afternoon, the health ministry said, adding that he had placed himself in home quarantine.
The minister, 40, was suffering from cold-like symptoms, the ministry said. People he had been in contact with were being informed.
A government spokesman said Spahn had attended a cabinet meeting earlier on Wednesday, but other cabinet ministers would not necessarily have to go into quarantine.
"The federal cabinet meets in compliance with hygiene and distance rules, which aim to ensure that even if a person who later tests corona-positive were to participate, quarantining of other or even all participants would not be necessary," he said.
While Germany's infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and hit a daily record of 7,830 on Saturday, according to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany's federal disease prevention agency.
"My best wishes for @jensspahn," tweeted Europe Minister Michael Roth. "Hopefully he will be back on board soon. Healthy and committed. We need everyone and anything now in the fight against the #Corona."
Spahn has urged Germans to stick to social distancing rules to keep infections at a manageable level.
Earlier this month, he said Germans face a "test of character" to contain a surge in the number of coronavirus cases.
Spahn, a popular member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, had been expected to run for the leadership of their Christian Democrats earlier this year but backed Armin Laschet, premier of Germany's most populous state North Rhine-Westphalia.
The party will pick a new leader in December.