French President Emmanuel Macron, wearing a protective face mask, watches as he makes a statement alongside Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas after his meeting at the Elysee Palace on October 28, 2020 in Paris, France.
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French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced on Thursday, prompting several other European officials to go into quarantine. It comes just days after France began easing restrictions on the pandemic.
The diagnosis was made “as soon as the first symptoms appeared,” Elysee Palace said in a brief statement that did not provide details of his symptoms. “In accordance with health directives that apply to everyone, the President of the Republic will isolate himself for 7 days.”
Macron, who turns 43 next week, will continue to work remotely, the statement added.
His 67-year-old wife, Brigitte, will also self-isolate, but she has not reported any Covid symptoms, her office said.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex (55), Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (48), Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa (59) and European Council President Charles Michel (44) said they were being quarantined because they were in the past Days of contact with Macron.
Sanchez, who had lunch with Macron on Monday, said he would cease all public activities until Christmas Eve.
Macron also met with Angel Gurria from the OECD this week. The French president hosted a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
France has registered more cases of the coronavirus than any other European nation, trailing only the US, India, Brazil and Russia for the highest number of infections in the world.
According to the Johns Hopkins University, more than 2.4 million people in France have been infected with Covid, including 59,472 deaths.
Champs-Elysees Avenue and the Arc de Triomphe can be seen after the Christmas lights were turned on on November 22, 2020 in Paris, France.
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Earlier this week, Macron relaxed a six-week ban on movement with a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. until mid-January, with the exception of Christmas Eve.
The public health measures stipulate that museums, theaters, cinemas, bars and restaurants must remain closed at least until January.
French ski resorts will also remain closed, but Macron said the hugely popular tourist attractions may reopen “on favorable terms” from next month.
Macron is one of several world leaders who tested positive for the coronavirus this year, including US President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care during his personal battle with Covid in April, said via Twitter that he was sorry to hear Macron tested positive for Covid and wished him a speedy recovery.
The UK’s post-Brexit transition period ends on December 31, and there is pressure on talks between the UK and the EU to reach a trade deal by then.
The EU and the UK Parliament have to ratify an agreement if there is an agreement.
One of the sticking points was fishing rights, with Macron pushing for guaranteed access to British fishing waters. The UK has now insisted that a new fisheries agreement must be based on the understanding that “British fishing grounds are primarily for British boats”.