Luxembourg's Prime Minister is hospitalised with Covid-19

Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel was diagnosed with low oxygen levels in his blood, an acute concern for people with Covid-19. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LUXEMBOURG - Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg, who is suffering from Covid-19 symptoms, was in "serious, but stable" condition Monday (July 5) at a hospital, the country's state ministry said.

Mr Bettel was diagnosed with low oxygen levels in his blood, an acute concern for people with Covid-19.

Fewer than 10 days after a star turn at the European Union summit meeting in Brussels late last month, Mr Bettel, 48, spent his second day in the hospital, where he was sent "as a precaution," according to the ministry.

Mr Bettel is expected to spend two to four more days there under observation because of his persistent symptoms, the ministry said.

At the summit meeting, he gave an intensely personal account of realising that he was gay and how hard it was to tell his parents. He spoke about it during a debate on Hungary's new law on sex education, which critics say targets the LGBTQ community.

"I didn't get up one morning after having seen some advertising and just become gay," Mr Bettel said in Brussels. "That's not how life works. It's in me, I didn't choose it. And to accept oneself is hard enough, so to be stigmatised too, that's too much."

Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands described the scene after Mr Bettel spoke: "Everybody had tears in their eyes."

After Mr Bettel attended the summit from June 24 - 25, he announced his positive test and had mild symptoms. He received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine in May but tested positive before he was to get his second one on July 1.

None of the other 26 leaders who attended the summit are showing Covid symptoms, the European Union said Monday. Many photographs and videos from the summit show leaders, including Mr Bettel, wearing masks.

Mr Bettel became prime minister of Luxembourg, a constitutional monarchy whose chief of state is Grand Duke Henri, in December 2013. He sometimes travels to official meetings with his husband since their marriage six years ago.

About 35 per cent of Luxembourg's population of 640,000 is fully vaccinated. The government announced last week that it would start scheduling vaccinations for children ages 12-17, beginning with the oldest.

"Hope to see you soon in good health," Ms Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said in a tweet directed at Mr Bettel on Monday. "In the meantime, rest and take good care of yourself."

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