News World World leaders self-isolate after French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive
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World leaders self-isolate after French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive

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French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the French Presidency says, although it is not yet clear where he contracted the virus.

“The President of the Republic has been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 today,” his office said in a statement on Thursday (local time).

“This diagnosis was made following a PCR test performed at the onset of the first symptoms.”

The presidency said Mr Macron would isolate for the next seven days and would continue to run the country.

A spokeswoman said that all his trips had been cancelled, including a planned visit to Lebanon on December 22.

She said Mr Macron was trying to work out where he contracted the virus.

He was at a European Council heads of state meeting on December 10 and 11. It was attended by other European leaders, six of whom are now also self-isolating:

  • Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez
  • Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa
  • Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo
  • Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel
  • Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin
  • French Prime Minister Jean Castex

Mr Castex will also self-isolate after coming into contact with Mr Macron in recent days, said Gerard Larcher, head of the Senate, the upper house of the French parliament.

Mr Castex had shown no symptoms and was tested on Thursday morning.

European Council President Charles Michel is also in quarantine as he travelled to Paris for an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development event and met Mr Macron at the Elysee Palace on Monday, his spokesman announced.

The Belgian politician was informed “by the French authorities that he is not considered to be a close contact”, Barend Leyts tweeted.

Mr Michel tested negative on Tuesday.

“However as a matter of precaution the president will go into self-isolation,” Mr Leyts said.

Mr Michel will carry on working.

Mr Sanchez will go into quarantine.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel tested negative for COVID-19 after last week’s EU summit, the government press office said on Thursday.

Mr Macron had been scheduled to travel to Lebanon next week. He had organised another online international aid conference with the United Nations, aimed at stabilising the troubled country, at the beginning of December.

Sources close to the Elysee Palace said distancing rules had been observed during a government meeting chaired by Mr Macron on Wednesday. All participants wore face masks, ruling them out as close contacts.

Mr Macron also met Mr Costa in Paris on Wednesday. The Portuguese PM has since cancelled visits to Sao Tome, Principe and Guinea-Bissau and is working via videoconference, news agency Lusa reported.

Late last week, Mr Macron had attended the EU summit in Brussels and consulted with other European leaders.

Mr De Croo announced that he had also been tested and would self-isolate until knowing the result.

However, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen would not go into quarantine, a spokesperson said.

Mr Macron’s wife, Brigitte, is also self-isolating. She has shown no symptoms of the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson contracted COVID-19 earlier in the pandemic and spent several days in hospital being treated for severe symptoms.

“I’m sorry to hear that my friend Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for the virus,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday, wishing the French president a speedy recovery.