Julian Assange's extradition hearing has been halted over fears a prosecuting lawyer may have been exposed to coronavirus.
The Wikileaks founder, 49, is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to expose military secrets between January and May 2010.
The husband of a junior prosecuting lawyer started suffering 'Covid-like symptoms' and is currently awaiting the results of a test, a judge heard at a case management hearing at the Old Bailey.
Washington DC-based attorney Eric Lewis was due to testify today but District Judge Vanessa Baraitser excused him and called the hearing instead.
Julian Assange (pictured in 2017), 49, is wanted in the US for allegedly conspiring with army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to expose military secrets
Edward Fitzgerald, QC, for Assange, said: 'I have had the opportunity to speak to Mr Assange and Mr Lewis and we respectfully invite you not to go ahead until they have had a (test) result.
'We have to move ahead on the assumption they have Covid.
'Firstly, we shouldn't really be here today. Covid would be here in the court room and it is not possible to tell how far it has extended.'
He added that there were members of the team who were in a high risk category - meaning they would likely suffer severe symptoms if exposed to Covid.
'Our client Mr Assange - whose vulnerabilities you are aware of - would be at risk because we have had to consult with him,' he said.
Supporters of WikiLeaks founder Assange protest outside the Old Bailey, the Central Criminal Court ahead of a hearing to decide whether Assange should be extradited to the United States, in London yesterday
'We reached a principle decision some time ago that this hearing shouldn't continue in the present circumstances.
'Trying to conduct this in a remote way would not be fair or appropriate.
'If the lawyer is negative we can carry on. If it is positive we can make submissions to you then.'
James Lewis, for the US government, appeared on the virtual link from his London flat.
He said: 'We agree with Mr Fitzgerald it would be best if we adjourn until Monday to know whether or not the