French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday attributed his contraction of the Covid-19 virus to a combination of neglect and bad luck.
The 42-year-old head of state urged his compatriots to stay safe in a self-supporting video of the Versailles presidential retreat where he is in isolation, as critics have shouted slippages in his behavior to prevent the infection.
Macron said he was exhibiting symptoms including headaches, fatigue and a dry cough and promised to give daily updates and to be “completely transparent” about the progress of his disease.
French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on display wearing a face mask and giving the thumbs up to the camera after testing for Covid-19 on Thursday and is now self-isolating
“I’m fine,” said the 42-year-old French leader, speaking quietly and casually dressed in a turtleneck top. “Normally, there is no reason for it to go wrong.
Macron said his infection “shows that the virus can really affect anyone, because I am very protected and very careful”.
“Despite everything, I caught this virus – maybe, no doubt, a moment of neglect, a moment of bad luck too,” he said.
In France, Macron’s diagnosis criticized him for setting a bad example as the country sees a further rise in cases and cases of violation of virus control guidelines by the French president have been filmed in recent days .
The 42-year-old head of state on Friday urged his compatriots to stay safe in a self-proclaimed video and blamed his contraction of the Covid-19 virus on a combination of neglect and bad luck.
Macron typically wears a mask and adheres to social distancing rules, and has insisted his antivirus strategy is guided by science.
However, critics have pointed to a number of slippages in his behavior over the past week, including a close handshake to an embrace with Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa, 59, in Paris on Wednesday, and great repeated group meals. .
He shook hands and half-kissed Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development chief Angel Gurria, 70, in a meeting on Monday.
Both were masked, but Macron’s office admitted on Friday that the move was a “mistake”.
Another European leader who spent time with Macron at an EU summit last week, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic, tested positive for the virus on Friday.
Ten other leaders at the top of the EU have since tested negative; others are not tested or have not published results.
Macron’s diagnosis criticized him for setting a bad example, with critics pointing to a number of slippages in his behavior over the past week. Pictured: French President Emmanuel Macron pats Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the back as he arrives for work at the palace on Monday
Macron (second from left) meets with dignitaries for a meeting of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development: European Council President Charles Michel, Secretary General Angel Gurria, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Director General of the UNESCO Audrey Azoulay
He shook hands and half-kissed Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development chief Angel Gurria, 70, in a meeting on Monday (pictured)
In his video message on Friday, the president hinted that his behavior had helped limit the spread of the virus.
“If I had not respected the rules, the barrier measures, I would have caught up with it much faster and, above all, I would have transmitted it in the previous hours to a lot more people,” Macron said.
He urged people to “stand firm” and look after each other during the holiday season, warning: “The virus is recovering, even stronger. ”
Despite his diagnosis, Macron plans to continue to lead the country and launched a planned speech via video conference on Thursday.
He said: ‘I am working at a slightly slower pace because of the virus, but I will continue to focus on high priority issues, such as our handling of the epidemic or, for example, the Brexit dossier. ”
Macron joins British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump in a growing list of world leaders who have contracted Covid-19.
Last week Macron spent two days in intense negotiations at the EU summit in Brussels with the leaders of the 26 other member countries.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was snubbed by Mr Macron during face-to-face Brexit talks, tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron tested positive for coronavirus. We wish you all a speedy recovery.
Macron, 42, is staying at a residence called La Lanterne (pictured) in Versailles and suffers from fever, cough and fatigue, he emerged today
Video clips released by the EU showed the leaders dispersed in a circle in a huge meeting room – Macron and most of the other leaders were not masked.
Macron also hosted or took part in several large-group meals in the days leading up to the positive test on Thursday, including with members of his centrist party and rival politicians, while the French are currently urged to avoid gatherings of more than six persons.
His office contacted those present for meals, but told some people sitting far from the president that they were not considered to be at risk.
Macron’s office does not provide details of his treatment. He stayed at the presidential residence of La Lanterne in the former royal city of Versailles, nestled in a grove closely guarded by the police.
Macron’s positive test comes as French health authorities again see an increase in infections and warn more as French families prepare to reunite for Christmas and New Year.
France reported 18,254 additional new infections on Thursday and its death toll is just under 60,000.
The French Pasteur Institute published a study on Friday suggesting that mealtimes at home and in public are a major source of contamination.
Epidemiologist Pastor Arnaud Fontanet told France-Inter radio on Friday that during the holidays, “we can see each other, just not too many, and at critical times of meals, not too many people at the same table.”
France recorded more than 17,000 new cases on Wednesday and another 18,254 on Thursday – raising concern as people buy and travel more ahead of the Christmas holidays
The death toll from the virus in France is just under 60,000. The virus has resurfaced in France – as in the rest of Europe – and there are serious fears that deaths will increase during the months of coldest winter
Macron performed a test “as soon as the first symptoms appear” on Thursday morning and will self-isolate for seven days, in accordance with recommendations from national health authorities, the presidency said.
The French health minister suggested that Macron could have been infected at the EU summit in Brussels last week, but Macron also had several meetings in Paris.
France had the first case of the virus in Europe in January, but Macron’s government has come under fire for not having enough masks or tests and for not confining the population quickly enough.
A strict two-month lockdown has reduced infections and France has sent children back to school and their parents to work.
But infections rose again this fall, so he declared a new, milder lockdown in October aimed at relieving pressure on hospitals.
The measures were relaxed slightly this week, although restaurants, tourist sites, gyms and some other facilities remain closed.