German Health Minister Jens Spahn wears his face mask as he takes his seat prior to a meeting of the Franco-German Parliamentary Assembly on September 22, 2020 in Berlin. AFP.
German Health Minister Jens Spahn has tested positive for coronavirus, his ministry said Wednesday, as the country battles a spike in new cases.
Spahn, a chief ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel and an architect of the government's response to the pandemic, went into isolation at home with "cold symptoms", according to the ministry.
The cabinet does not however have to go into quarantine despite Spahn's attendance at a meeting on Wednesday, a government spokesman told the DPA news agency.
Spahn has been lauded for his calm handling of the virus crisis, and was once seen as a contender to take over as chancellor when Merkel stands down next year.
Spahn has welcomed stronger restrictions imposed by some states in Germany as the country tries to curb a second wave of Covid-19.
The Alpine district of Berchtesgaden in southern Germany, a beauty spot popular with tourists, on Tuesday became the first area to return to strict lockdown since the height of the pandemic earlier this year.
Last week, Germany reported its highest number of new virus cases in a single day as numbers surged across Europe.