French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating.
The 42-year-old took a test ‘as soon as the first symptoms appeared,’ the Elysee Palace said in a brief statement on Thursday morning.
Mr Macron, who joins Britain’s Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump in a growing list of world leaders who have contracted Covid-19, will isolate for seven days but plans to continue running the country via video conference.
Frantic contact tracing is now afoot as the president has been centre stage in Brexit negotiations and only yesterday embraced the Prime Minister of Portugal in Paris.
Mr Johnson, who has been snubbed by Mr Macron on face-to-face Brexit talks, tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery.’
WEDNESDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron with Prime Minister Of Portugal Antonio Costa, 59, at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday
FRIDAY: Macron in a diplomatic scrum with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left), uropean Council President Charles Michel (centre) and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban (right)
MONDAY: Macron (second from left) meets with dignitaries for a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: European Council President Charles Michel, Secretary General Angel Gurria, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, and UNESCO general director Audrey Azoulay
MONDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron pats Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the back as he arrives for work at the palace on Monday
MONDAY: Macron shakes hands and holds 70-year-old Angel Gurria, the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, on Monday at the palace
LAST THURSDAY: Macron speaking with the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen amid tense Brexit discussions – the virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, right, during a round table meeting during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on December 10
Mr Macron with his wife welcoming the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the palace on December 7. Mr Macron’s 67-year-old wife Brigitte has also gone into isolation for the second time.
Boris Johnson, who has been snubbed by Mr Macron on face-to-face Brexit talks, tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery.’
Mr Macron joined dozens of other European leaders, including the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for a summit in Brussels last Thursday.
Embraces 59-year-old PM of Portugal Antonio Costa at Elysee Palace.
Meets with European Council President Charles Michel, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, OECD chief Angel Gurria, and UNESCO general director Audrey Azoulay.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11:
Macron takes centre stage at EU summit in Brussels – meets with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10:
French president is seen in a diplomatic scrum with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Who is self-isolating?
Spanish PM Sanchez, EU Commission President Michel, French PM Jean Castex, Parliament speaker Richard Ferrand and Mr Macron’s wife Brigitte.
They have not tested positive.
Virus has incubation period of 14 days, meaning that anyone who came into contact with Mr Macron up to Dec. 3 is advised to get tested and self-isolate.
A key aspect of their talks was how to implement a Covid vaccine on the continent – the EU is lagging behind Britain because its central regulatory body must take into account all 27 member states – the bureaucrats have managed to cut down their usual process of 210 days to fewer than 150.
Also dominating discussions was Brexit and Mr Macron was pictured having a close chats with President von der Leyen last Thursday and with Mrs Merkel on Friday.
Mr Macron was also pictured gesturing in the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s face while standing just a few yards from the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
And only yesterday, the French President embraced the 59-year-old PM of Portugal Mr Costa on the steps of the Elysee Palace.
The tactile Mr Macron was pictured again at the palace on Monday welcoming dignitaries including European Council President Charles Michel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the chief of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Angel Gurria.
Today, Spanish PM Sanchez, European Commission President Michel and French PM Jean Castex all announced that they will be self-isolating. None of them has tested positive.
Mr Macron’s 67-year-old wife, Brigitte, has also gone into isolation for the second time – she quarantined in October after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.
As result of the diagnosis, a trip next week by Mr Macron to Lebanon – where the president had been pressing for far-reaching political change after the giant Beirut port explosion in August – has been cancelled.
The virus has an incubation period of 14 days, meaning that anyone who came into contact with Mr Macron up to December 3 would be advised to either get tested or self-isolate.
The French president is one of several heads of state and government around the world who have contracted Covid-19, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump.
France recorded more than 17,000 new cases on Wednesday – sparking concern as people shop and travel more ahead of the Christmas holidays
The virus has resurfaced in France – as across the rest of Europe – and there are grave fears that deaths could spike in the colder winter months
DECEMBER 11: Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (L), European Council President Charles Michel (C) and French President Emmanuel Macron (left 2) attend EU Leaders Summit in Brussels
DECEMBER 11: Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel (C), European Council President Charles Michel (L) and French President Emmanuel Macron (R) attend EU Leaders Summit in Brussels
MONDAY: Macron welcomes European Council President Charles Michel to the palace
Macron during an EU summit in Brussels last Friday – he has been surrounded by other heads of state and diplomats
MONDAY: Macron (l) speaks to Louise Ekland on stage during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 draw at Palais Brongniart
France earlier this week eased restrictions imposed to battle the second wave of the coronavirus but infection rates remain high.
There is still a nationwide overnight curfew from 8 pm to halt the spread of the virus while restaurants and cafes as well as theatres and cinemas remain closed.
Over 59,300 people have died in France of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures.
The recording of over 17,000 new cases on Wednesday alone has also generated concern as people shop and travel more intensely ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Like other EU states, France is pinning its hopes on a vaccine to quell the virus and Castex said Wednesday the country will receive around 1.16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by year end.
Castex said that the start of the vaccine campaign was conditional on approval from the European Medicines Agency, expected on December 21.
‘It is only at the end of spring that we will open the vaccination programme to the entire population’, he added.
Another problem for the French authorities is that according to an opinion poll, only 53 percent of people want to be vaccinated, among the lowest rates in the world.
MONDAY: Macron, without a mask, bumps elbows with the OECD’s 70-year-old Secretary General Angel Gurria on Monday
WEDNESDAY: Macron, right, and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa answer reporters
World leaders who caught Covid
The US president, who famously referred to the virus as a hoax, caught the disease at the height of the presidential campaign in October.
The 74-year-old was admitted to hospital but made a rapid recovery to get back out on the campaign trail.
The 65-year-old Brazilian president had played down the seriousness of the virus, calling it a ‘little flu, but caught the disease in July.
During his quarantine, Mr Bolsonaro said: ‘I knew I was going to catch it someday, as I think unfortunately nearly everyone here is going to catch it eventually. What are you afraid of? Face up to it.’
The British Prime Minister, 56, was among world leaders the worst afflicted by coronavirus.
Mr Johnson was rushed to intensive care in April at the height of the pandemic in Europe.
Such was the severity of his illness that preparations were made should he die.
Prince Albert II of Monaco
The 62-year-old head of state caught coronavirus in March and medics gave him the all clear at the start of April.
The Russian Prime Minister caught the virus in April. Mishustin, 54, was forced to hand powers over to his colleagues while recovering from the disease.
The Prime Minister of Swaziland this week became the first world leader to die of Covid-19, two weeks after he was rushed to hospital in South Africa.
The 52-year-old tested positive for the disease in mid-November but was said to be feeling well and was asymptomatic. But his condition deteriorated and he was taken from the tiny landlocked nation to a hospital in neighbouring South Africa.
Juan Orlando Hernandez
The Honduras president announced in June that he had tested positive, along with two other people who worked closely with him. Hernandez said he had started what he called the ‘MAIZ treatment,’ an experimental and unproven combination of microdacyn, azithromycin, ivermectin and zinc.
He was briefly hospitalized and released. He has added his voice to growing pleas for equitable access to any COVID-19 vaccine, asking the recent U.N. gathering of world leaders, ‘Are people to be left to die?’
The president of Belarus, who dismissed concerns about the virus as ‘psychosis’ and recommended drinking vodka to stay healthy, said in July he had contracted it himself but was asymptomatic.
The Guatemalan president said he tested positive for the virus in September. ‘My symptoms are very mild. Up to now, I have body aches, it hurt more yesterday than today, like a bad cold,’ he said during a televised address. ‘I don’t have a fever, I have a bit of a cough.’ He said he’d be working from home.
The virus drove the Bolivian interim president into isolation in July, but she said she was feeling well.
The newly elected president of the Dominican Republic contracted and recovered from COVID-19 during his campaign. He spent weeks in isolation before the country’s July election.
Nuno Gomes Nabiam
Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau said he tested positive in April.