• Bassam Radi, Managing Editor

Emmanuel Macron: French president tests positive for Covid


France's Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19, forcing several European leaders to self-isolate after coming into contact with him.


The 42-year-old president was tested after developing symptoms and will now self-isolate for seven days, the Elysée Palace said in a statement.


He "is still in charge" of running the country and will work remotely.


European Council chief Charles Michel and Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez are among the leaders having to self-isolate.


France this week ended a six-week national lockdown, replacing the measure with a curfew to help deal with soaring cases.


There have been nearly 2.5 million confirmed cases in the country since the epidemic began, with more than 59,400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.


France plans to start rolling out its coronavirus vaccination programme from 27 December.


"The President of the Republic has been diagnosed positive for Covid-19 today," the Elysée said on Thursday morning. The diagnosis was made following a "test performed at the onset of the first symptoms", the statement added.


It is not yet known how Mr Macron caught the virus but his office said it was identifying any close contacts he had made in recent days.


These include Prime Minister Jean Castex, 55, and parliamentary speaker Richard Ferrand, 58, who are both self-isolating, their offices confirmed.


Mr Castex, who is not showing any symptoms and has tested negative, was due to introduce the government's Covid vaccination policy in the Senate on Thursday - now Health Minister Olivier Véran is doing it instead.


The French president's wife Brigitte Macron, who is 67, is also self-isolating but has no symptoms.


French President Emmanuel Macron welcomes Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Elysee Palace as part of events marking the 60th anniversary of the signing of the OECD convention in Paris, France, on 14 December 2020.



Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, 48, and the EU's Charles Michel, 44, are both self-isolating after meeting the French president for lunch on Monday.


The Spanish prime minister's office said he would be tested "without delay" and would "respect the quarantine until 24 December". Mr Michel returned a negative test on Tuesday, his spokesman said.


Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, 59, has also cancelled all official trips, and is isolating and awaiting test results, after a working lunch in Paris with President Macron on Wednesday.


Mr Macron attended a two-day European Council heads of state summit, which finished last Friday.


However, the French president is considered to have become potentially contagious as of Monday evening, a senior EU official told the BBC.


French President Emmanuel Macron (L) speaks with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen as Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban (R) speaks with Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at the start of a two days face-to-face EU summit , in Brussels, Belgium, 10 December 2020.


All sanitary measures were observed during last week's meeting and the council has not been informed of any other participants testing positive, the source added.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel wore a mask at the summit and tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, German officials said after hearing the news about President Macron.


A French presidential spokeswoman confirmed that all of Mr Macron's forthcoming trips, including a scheduled visit to Lebanon on 22 December, had been cancelled.




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