Frenchman Macron isolates himself after testing positive for COVID-19


French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, his office said in a statement on Thursday.
Macron was tested after showing mild symptoms of the disease and will self-isolate for seven days and continue to work, the statement said. An Elysee official declined to provide details on the circumstances of the infection or where the president will isolate himself.

The diagnosis, a few days before Macron’s 43rd birthday, comes at a particularly sensitive time. France is struggling to tame a resurgence of the virus, with the president criticizing his handling of the crisis and its economic fallout. He is also trying to push through controversial plans to strengthen police powers while dealing with the final stages of Brexit.

As Europe seeks to emerge from a second wave, European Union authorities are pushing for a compressed approval schedule for the Covid-19 vaccine from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE to allow for deployment to the continent before Christmas.

Macron is the third leader of a Group of Seven country to contract the virus, after US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who wished the French leader a “speedy recovery” in a Tweet.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex is self-isolating after coming into contact with Macron. The same is true for Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, his office said, raising the question of how many important figures Macron could have come into contact with in the wake of last week’s EU summit.

“I stand with you wholeheartedly,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter. “Together, we will defeat this pandemic.”

France imposed a second partial lockdown in October. She reported 17,915 new cases in 24 hours and 289 new deaths on Wednesday. A curfew was lifted this week and the government will further ease restrictions on the Christmas holidays, and while businesses are open, museums, cinemas and theaters remain closed.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has imposed a nationwide lockdown that will extend through Christmas and hinted that it could also slip into January. In the UK, Johnson allows households to mix during the holidays.

France expects to receive 1.16 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by December 30, Castex said during a parliamentary debate. He said France, in coordination with other European countries, would do “everything possible” to start vaccinating the last week of the year.

France is counting on a new delivery around January 5 and 1.6 million additional doses in February.

Macron was due to visit Lebanon next week. He met Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Wednesday for a working lunch.


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