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Thomas Haldenwang
Image: Reuters/H. Hanschke

German spy bosses test positive for COVID-19

October 16, 2020

The president, two vice presidents and other staff of Germany's domestic intelligence agency have all tested positive for the coronavirus. Despite the infections, the agency said it's still able to function.


The entire leadership of Germany's domestic intelligence agency has tested positive for the coronavirus, the agency confirmed on Friday.

A spokesman for the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) told DPA news agency that its president, Thomas Haldenwang, the two vice presidents as well as some other employees tested had tested positive.

The confirmation came in response to a report from news weekly Der Spiegel.

"The office management continues to run official business from home," the BfV said. "The capability of the BfV is completely guaranteed". It said the agency had set up a crisis team at the start of the pandemic.

The BfV is one of the most important security agencies in Germany, dealing with threats to the democratic order, extremists groups and other issues.

Coronavirus hotspots: Are Europe's cities out of control?

Haldenwang, 60, has run the BfV since 2018, when he announced that he would focus on right-wing extremism.

Der Spiegel reported that Haldenwang had many high-level contacts in recent weeks, including with Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer.

Seehofer has since tested negative, and a spokesman told the outlet that both had observed hygiene measures.

Second wave

Germany, much like the rest of Europe, is suffering through a resurgence of coronavirus cases. In the past 24 hours, Germany recorded 7,334 new confirmed infections — the highest daily count since the start of the pandemic. The previous record was about 6,300 daily cases in late March, however testing capacity was not high enough at that point to reveal the true number. 

There are concerns that the increasing cases will overload hospitals. On Thursday, there were 655 patients in intensive care, with 329 on ventilation. 

Some measures to keep the pandemic in control have hit legal hurdles in recent days, with a business curfew in Berlin overturned, and many states scrapping a hotel ban for travelers from high-risk areas.

aw/rs (dpa, AFP)

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