Spain's deputy premier quarantined as coronavirus reaches cabinet

Spain's Second Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias is in good health but has been placed in preventive quarantine after his partner, Equality Minister Irene Montero, was confirmed to have the virus.
Spain's Second Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias is in good health but has been placed in preventive quarantine after his partner, Equality Minister Irene Montero, was confirmed to have the virus.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MADRID (BLOOMBERG) - A Spanish deputy prime minister was placed in quarantine after his partner, who is also a minister, became the first member of the cabinet to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

Second Deputy Prime Minister Pablo Iglesias is in good health but has been placed in preventive quarantine after his partner, Equality Minister Irene Montero, was confirmed to have the virus, the government said in a statement. The rest of the cabinet is being tested and results will be announced later Thursday (March 12).

Ministers were already set to hold an extraordinary meeting at 12:30 pm to discuss additional measures to combat the outbreak and stimulate the economy. The meeting will be held as planned but future meetings will be held remotely.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez banned all flights from Italy and saw the Madrid region shutter schools and universities in and around the capital, the main focal point of the Spanish outbreak.

Iglesias is the head of anti-establishment party Unidas Podemos, the junior member in Spain's coalition government. He has had a tense relationship with the Socialist Sanchez for years but the two put aside their differences to cobble together a government in January.

As part of the negotiations, Sanchez agreed to make Iglesias deputy prime minister. He then named three other deputies, diluting his rival's power and diminishing his status.

As well as Iglesias and Montero, Unidas Podemos has three other ministers in the 23-strong cabinet.