French president Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19, becoming the latest world leader to be diagnosed with the disease.
Mr Macron was diagnosed after experiencing symptoms, said the Elysée Palace in a statement on Thursday. The president will isolate himself for seven days and “will continue to work and carry out his activities remotely”.
Prime minister Jean Castex, who attended a weekly ministerial meeting at the Elysée on Wednesday, is also self-isolating, the president of the Senate, the upper house of parliament, Gérard Larcher told senators on Wednesday, according to Le Monde — as is Richard Ferrand, head of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.
Social distancing was practised and masks were worn during the weekly cabinet meeting, which is held on Wednesday, according to an Elysée spokesperson.
Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, who had lunch with Mr Macron at the Elysée on Monday, has gone into quarantine.
Mr Macron also attended a summit of EU leaders on Thursday and Friday last week, which included a bilateral meeting with German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mr Macron is the latest in a string of world leaders who have contracted coronavirus including outgoing US president Donald Trump, UK prime minister Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s president. French finance minister Bruno Le Maire also caught the virus this year.
According to Reuters, Mr Macron, 42, has cancelled all upcoming trips, including a planned visit to Lebanon, and his office is working to trace all contacts he may have had in recent days.
Mr Sánchez‘s office said the Spanish prime minister would suspend “all his scheduled activity for the coming days in compliance with health protocols”. The announcement was made less than an hour before the prime minister was due to make an appearance with King Felipe VI at an exhibition about Manuel Azaña, president of the Spanish republic of the 1930s.
Elysée officials have yet to provide details on how Mr Macron was infected or the specific symptoms.
Mr Macron’s diagnosis comes as France is grappling with a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 59,000 people in the country. France reported 17,615 new daily cases on Wednesday and 289 deaths.
France’s second nationwide lockdown, which was put in place in October, has successfully cut the daily number of new infections and hospitalisations, but the slowdown has stalled in the past few weeks.
A curfew was recently lifted and France is going to ease restrictions for the Christmas holidays. But restaurants and bars are still shut and France may have to push back plans to reopen in January if infections are not under control by then.