DOWNING Street is expecting to forge ahead with Brexit talks – despite both the EU and UK’s chief negotiators being forced into self-isolation.

Boris Johnson's chief negotiator, David Frost, has not tested positive for Covid-19 but is following instructions to steer clear of others at home after exhibiting "mild" symptoms, Number 10 said.

His entry into self-isolation comes after EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier tested positive for the coronavirus as the two sides try to broker an ambitious trade deal.

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Although the pandemic has derailed face-to-face negotiations, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said talks with the bloc are expected to continue next week.

The National: Michel Barnier has tested positive for coronavirusMichel Barnier has tested positive for coronavirus

"David has been showing mild symptoms so he is following the guidance to self-isolate," he said.

"We remain in contact with the European Commission and expect further conversations between the teams next week."

The spokesman said the "same protocol as has always been followed" is under way when asked if contact tracing is being carried out and whether Frost had been with the PM.

Johnson has been insisting he will not ask for a delay to the transition period, due to expire at the end of the year, despite the crisis gripping much of the world.

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The talks had appeared to hit a buffer yesterday when Barnier revealed he had tested positive, though he said he was "doing well and in good spirits".

A second round of talks had been due to take place in London on Wednesday but they were scrapped because of the virus outbreak.

Discussions have been taking place between officials in Westminster and Brussels about how to proceed with negotiations, possibly through the use of video conference technology.