French President Emmanuel Macron tests positive for Covid-19

French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19, the Élysée Palace announced on Thursday.

“The President of the Republic has been positively diagnosed for Covid-19 today,” the Presidential Palace said in a statement.

“This diagnosis was made after a PCR test performed at the beginning of the first symptoms,” the statement said, without specifying Macron’s symptoms.

The presidency said he would isolate himself for the next seven days, as recommended by French health authorities, and has suspended all trips abroad.

Macron “will continue to work and carry out its activities remotely,” the Élysée Palace said.

Prime Minister Jean Castex, who was in contact with Macron at the government’s weekly cabinet meeting, will also isolate himself.

Macron attended the European Union summit at the end of last week, where he had a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Macron and other government officials have said they follow strict sanitation protocols during the pandemic, including not shaking hands, wearing a mask and keeping away from other people.

Macron follows recommendations from French health authorities, which since September have reduced the isolation period from 14 days to seven. The authorities said at the time that this is the period when there is the greatest risk of infection and that the reduction enables better enforcement of the measure. French health officials have said the 14-day quarantine was not well respected by many in the country who considered it too long.

France has eased restrictions imposed to fight the second wave of coronavirus but the level of infection is still high. There is still a nationwide curfew in place from 8pm to stop the spread of the virus while restaurants and cafes, as well as theaters and cinemas, remain closed.

More than 59,300 people have died in France from coronavirus since the pandemic began, according to official figures. The recording of over 17,000 new cases on Wednesday alone has also raised concerns when people shop and travel more intensively ahead of the Christmas weekend.

Like other EU states, France is putting its hopes on a vaccine to curb the virus. Prime Minister Castex said on Wednesday that the country will receive about 1.16 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year.

( Jowharwith AFP and REUTERS)