Luxembourg’s prime minister is hospitalized with COVID-19

Closeup of Xavier Bettel wearing a mask.
Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel attends an EU summit in Brussels last month.
(Aris Oikonomou / Pool Photo)

Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel remained hospitalized and under observation for a second day Monday because he had been unable to shake a bout of COVID-19 that developed over a week ago.

A government official, who spoke on customary condition of anonymity, said Bettel, 48, was suffering from COVID-19 symptoms including coughing, headache and a slight fever but had not developed any life-threatening condition.

“The problem is that the symptoms have not fully disappeared over the past week,” the official said. Since he self-isolated last week, Bettel has continued to work remotely and through video conferences as much a possible.


He was taken in for 24 hours of testing and medical analysis Sunday. Testing continued Monday afternoon, the official said. It remained possible he might leave the hospital late Monday. It was not clear whether Bettel’s husband was quarantining.

The European Commission indicated that Bettel was doing relatively well. “We understand — and we certainly hope — that it’s not serious and it’s for checks,” said EU spokeswoman Dana Spinant.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she wished him “a very speedy recovery,” tweeting: “Hope to see you soon in good health. In the meantime, rest and take good care of yourself.”

The remarkable thing when this tiny nation legalized same-sex marriage in June wasn’t that the conservative-leaning prime minister, Xavier Bettel, supported the new law.

Aug. 20, 2014

Bettel announced his positive test just after he had attended an EU summit with the bloc’s 26 other leaders for two days. At first, he experienced only mild symptoms. But on Sunday, he had to be hospitalized. Bettel had received one COVID-19 vaccine dose in May and had been scheduled to get his second AstraZeneca shot Thursday.

“It was unfortunate that he tested positive just before that,” the official said.

EU summit organizers said they were confident that all coronavirus precaution measures had been strictly adhered to during the two-day meeting. So far, no other leader has said he or she has tested positive.

EU leaders have been grappling with the dangers for over a year now of transmitting the virus during one of their many meetings. Most of their summits have been held through videoconference, and only when essential issues were dealt with that needed long in-person negotiations did the leaders convene at EU headquarters.


A two-day summit that ended 10 days ago dealt with a series of pressing issues, but much of the focus fell on a tussle between Hungary and most of the other EU nations on LGBTQ issues. Bettel took center stage in defending the rights of LGBTQ people.