December 17, 2020
French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19, the Élysée Palace announced on Thursday.
French President Emmanuel Macron scratches his eye as he addresses the press upon the arrival of Portugal’s prime minister for a working lunch at the Élysée presidential palace in Paris on December 16, 2020. © Thomas Coex, AFP
By FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS
“The president of the Republic has been diagnosed positive for Covid-19 today,” the presidential palace said in a statement.
“This diagnosis was made following a PCR test performed at the onset of the first symptoms,” the statement said, without detailing what symptoms Macron exhibited.
The presidency said he would isolate for the next seven days, as recommended by French health authorities, and has cancelled all foreign trips.
Macron “will continue to work and carry out his activities remotely”, the Élysée Palace said.
Prime Minister Jean Castex, who was in contact with Macron at the government’s weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, will also self-isolate.
Macron attended a European Union summit at the end of last week where he notably had a bilateral meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Macron and other government officials have said they are following strict sanitary protocols during the pandemic, including not shaking hands, wearing a mask and keeping distance from other people.
Macron is following recommendations from French health authorities that, since September, have reduced isolation time from 14 days to seven. Authorities said at the time that this is the period when there is the greatest risk of contagion and that reducing it allows 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 battle the second wave of the coronavirus but infection rates remain high. There is still a nationwide overnight curfew in place from 8pm to halt the spread of the virus while restaurants and cafés, as well as theatres and cinemas, remain closed.
More than 59,300 people have died in France of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures. The recording of over 17,000 new cases on Wednesday alone has also generated concern as people shop and travel more intensely ahead of the Christmas holidays.
Like other EU states, France is pinning its hopes on a vaccine to quell the virus. Prime Minister Castex said Wednesday the country will receive around 1.16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by the end of the year.