EU leaders have said Brexit talks must go on on the day Boris Johnson vowed to walk away from discussions if no progress was made.
It comes as top Eurocrat Ursula von der Leyen was pulled dramatically from the crunch EU council meeting to go into self-isolation after a staff member tested positive for coronavirus.
Ms von der Leyen said today critical issues were blocking a Brexit deal.
The two biggest stumbling blocks are fishing rights in British waters and rules over state aid.
But as the EU Commission chief's was speaking and meeting with leaders from across Europe, she recieved the news a member of her top team had tested positive for coronavirus.
Ms von der Leyen was swept from the summit and quickly swabbed herself.
She tested negative but is now in self-isolation as a precaution.
She tweeted today: "I have just been informed that a member of my front office has tested positive to COVID-19 this morning.
"I myself have tested negative. However as a precaution I am immediately leaving the European Council to go into self-isolation."
It is the second time in two weeks Ms von der Leyen has been forced into self-isolation.
Mr Johnson vowed to walk away from Brexit talks on October 15, in time for the EU council meeting, if significant progress hadn't been made.
Mr Johnson said last month would be “no sense in thinking about timelines that go beyond (October 15)” as businesses on both sides of the Channel needed time to prepare.
But official conclusions from the EU were that talks must continue to hash out the differences between bloc leaders and the UK.
They also warned they were "stepping up preparedness for no deal".
Mr Johnson had an 11th hour phone call with Ms von der Leyen last night, ahead of the meeting today.
A spokesperson for No10 said last night: “The leaders discussed the latest state of play of the negotiations on our future relationship with the EU, ahead of the October European Council.
“The Prime Minister noted the desirability of a deal, but expressed his disappointment that more progress had not been made over the past two weeks.
“The Prime Minister said that he looked forward to hearing the outcome of the European Council and would reflect before setting out the UK’s next steps in the light of his (deadline for talks)."
Chief negotiator for the UK David Frost has urged the PM not to give up hope on Brexit talks just yet.
Sources close to the talks told The Times Lord Frost had told Mr Johnson a deal was not impossible, even though there would be a last minute rush to agree a 500 page legal text this month.
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