France: President Emmanuel Macron has been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 today, his office said in a statement. “This diagnosis was made following a PCR test performed at the onset of the first symptoms.”
Macron’s office said he would isolate for the next seven days and would continue to run the country remotely. A spokeswoman said that all his trips had been canceled, including an upcoming visit to Lebanon on Dec. 22.
Macron’s positive test comes just two days after France relaxed measures to curb the second wave of COVID-19, replacing a nationwide lockdown with a curfew.
Health authorities on Wednesday reported the highest increase in cases since Nov. 21. Macron is the latest head of state to contract the virus. U.S. President Donald Trump tested positive in October.
The French presidency said Macron and his team were trying to assess where he could have contracted the virus.
Macron was at a European Council heads of state meeting on Dec. 10-11. His schedule over the last week has also included a private dinner with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during which he awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour. He also has had lunch this week with European leaders Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen as well as the Spanish and Portuguese prime ministers.
He was seen shaking hands with OECD chief Angel Gurria.
Prime Minister Jean Castex will also self isolate after coming into contact with Macron over the last few days, said Gerard Larcher, head of the Senate, the upper house of the French parliament.
Political party chiefs from the Senate and France’s lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, were also in isolation as they had lunch with Macron earlier this week.
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 and Prime Minister Jean Castex said Wednesday the country will receive around 1.16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by year-end.