Merkel’s G-7 excursion unsettled by Covid-19 outbreak at hotel

LONDON (BLOOMBERG) – A Covid-19 outbreak in one of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit hotels set off alarm bells in the German delegation hours before Chancellor Angela Merkel’s arrival in the UK.

Members of Ms Merkel’s security detail were already staying in the Pedn Olva hotel, in the host town of St Ives, before local staff tested positive, according to a German official.

For now, the security members have self-isolated, and the Chancellor will attend the G-7 summit as planned, the person said, declining to be named because the details are confidential.

The spokesman for Mr Boris Johnson, the hosting prime minister, told reporters that Ms Merkel is still expected. She is scheduled to land on Friday (June 11) around 11am in Cornwall, along the southwest coast of England, just in time for the summit to kick off.

Ms Merkel, 66, has received her first inoculation but is still not fully vaccinated. She is a scientist by training, and some officials in Germany previously expressed doubts about whether it was wise to attend the summit given concerns about a spike in UK cases.

Mr Johnson is now considering delaying the final stage of the pandemic lockdown easing in England, with a final decision due Monday, a day after the summit ends.

German health authorities have declared Britain as high risk and travellers returning from the UK have to go into a two-week quarantine.

“What concerns us is the so-called Delta variant, which is once again spreading in Britain very heavily,” Ms Merkel said on Thursday after a meeting with German state leaders in Berlin.

This will be her last G-7 after 16 years in power.