Luis de Guindos, vice president of the European Central Bank, has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating ahead of Thursday’s crucial monetary policy meeting to decide how many bonds he will buy in the year next.

The ECB announced on Sunday evening that de Guindos had tested positive for the virus despite a double vaccine, adding that he “had not been in contact” with the president of the central bank, Christine Lagarde, “during the week last”.

Usually, de Guindos appears alongside Lagarde to broadcast their press conference after political meetings of the ECB’s Governing Council. The ECB has said it will work from home “until further notice and there will be no impact on this week’s monetary policy meeting.”

The Frankfurt-based bank said de Guindos’ symptoms were “very mild” and that he was informing everyone he has recently come into close contact with.

It had already been decided that this week’s board meeting would take place in a fully virtual format, after coronavirus infections in Germany hit record levels in recent weeks. ECB staff have been asked to work from home if possible until March.

Lagarde is expected to start undoing the ECB’s massive stimulus package on Thursday by announcing that the € 1.85 billion bond buying program he launched in response to the pandemic will halt net buying in March .

Many Western central banks, including the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, have said they are halting their bond purchases in response to soaring inflation. But the ECB is expected to expand and continue an older asset purchase program at least until the end of next year.


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