Emmanuel Macron: French president tests positive for coronavirus

According to the Elysee palace, he sought a test on Thursday as soon as he began showing symptoms of the virus and will now self-isolate for seven days. 

The short statement did not elaborate on what symptoms Mr Macron had, but added the president would continue working remotely from his self-isolation throughout. It is not yet known how the 42-year-old caught the virus. 

Boris Johnson has sent the president his well wishes, writing on Twitter in English and French: “Sorry to hear my friend  @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery.”

The positive test came after a week in which Mr Macron had met with dozens of senior political figures across Europe, including the heads of the EU Council and Commission, and the prime ministers of Spain and Portugal, arousing fears the president could become an accidental Covid super-spreader among the continent’s rulers. 

A number of leaders have announced they will now begin self-isolation after coming in touch with Mr Macron.

Mr Macron’s infection came just as France was easing out of its latest lockdown, with new cases now running around 11,000 a day, down from their recent spike of 86,000 in early November. 

Authorities had set a target of less than 5,000 new cases a day when entering the lockdown in October but decided to ease the rules mostly on schedule earlier this week despite the virus spreading significantly above the target. 

The news of the French president’s positive test has led to several of his EU counterparts having to enter self-isolation, coming a week after Mr Macron joined other EU leaders at a summit in Brussels for discussions.

Mr Macron met with the EU Council president Charles Michel and the European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen in Paris on Monday, before he welcomed the Portuguese prime minister Antonio Costa to the Elysee palace for a working lunch on Wednesday, as well as chairing a cabinet meeting. 

The incubation period of coronavirus, the time between first being exposed to infection and when symptoms appear, is typically five to six days, but can last as long as 14, according to the World Health Organisation. 

Among those who have already gone into precautionary quarantine is Jean Castex, Mr Macron’s prime minister. 

The president of the French Senate, Gérard Larcher, announced that Mr Castex was also self-isolating at the opening of a session to discuss France’s vaccine strategy, with the minister of heath giving his speech instead.  The prime minister is not showing any symptoms, his office confirmed.

Both the Portuguese and Spanish prime ministers, who also met with Mr Macron earlier this week, have announced they will now begin self-isolation as a precaution too, as has Micheal Martin, the Irish Taoiseach. 

A planned trip to Lebanon by Mr Macron has also been cancelled as a result of his positive test. 

The president’s third trip to the troubled Middle Eastern nation since the Beirut port explosion was due to start on 22 December and, although ostensibly was to visit French peacekeepers stationed there, would also have seen Mr Macron renewing his efforts to speed political and economic reform among the country’s corrupt and chaotic political class. 


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