Macron tests positive for COVID-19, forcing leaders to self isolate

The presidency confirmed in a statement that Macron would self-isolate but would continue to work and carry out duties remotely.

French President Emmanuel Macron visits Lebanon, September 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES/POOL)
French President Emmanuel Macron visits Lebanon, September 2020
(photo credit: REUTERS/GONZALO FUENTES/POOL)
French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office announced on Thursday morning.

"The President of the Republic 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."

A spokeswoman said all his forthcoming trips had been canceled, including a scheduled visit to Lebanon on Dec. 22.
The presidency added in a statement that Macron would self-isolate but would continue to work and carry out duties remotely.
 
The 42-year-old took a test after symptoms appeared and will now isolate for seven days, a statement from the Elysée Palace said.
Brigitte Macron, the president's wife, is self-isolating at present although she is not showing any symptoms of COVID-19, her office said on Thursday.
Macron's office is currently in the process of identifying those he may have contacted to inform them of the situation. The Elysée Palace added that they were trying to assess where he could have contracted the virus.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex will also self isolate after coming into contact with Macron over the last few days, although he has tested negative, his office said.
Macron attended a European summit late last week at which he met a host of EU leaders to discuss the European Union's budget, climate change and Turkey.
While the leaders were gathering in the summit room and initially mingling with their face masks on, they take them off once they sit down to talks, although remain quite far apart at their round table.
Macron and his wife Brigitte also hosted a private dinner with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during which he awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.
This week Macron had lunch with European Council President Charles Michel as well as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
Sanchez's office said he would quarantine until Dec. 24. An EU spokesman said Michel, would self-isolate as a precaution.
"(Michel) was informed by the French authorities that he is not considered to be a close contact. He is tested regularly and tested negative on Tuesday. However as a matter of precaution the president will go into self-isolation," said the spokesman. 
Video footage of Macron welcoming the Spanish prime minister at the Elysee Palace showed that both wore masks and did not shake hands.
Portugal's Prime Minister Antonio Costa has canceled official trips and is in self-isolation, his office said on Thursday, less than 24 hours after he met Macron.
It said Costa displayed no symptoms and was awaiting the result of a coronavirus test he got earlier on Thursday, which had already been scheduled before his official trip to Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea Bissau between Dec. 18 and Dec. 20.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel tested negative for COVID-19 after last week's EU summit, at which she met French President Emmanuel Macron, the government press office said.
"The chancellor was tested a few days after the EU summit, as is routine," a spokeswoman said, adding that the result of the test was negative. "The chancellor sends the French president her best wishes for a speedy recovery," she said. 

The head of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said she "has no plan on self-isolating" after she met the French President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the week, a Commission spokesman said on Thursday. French authorities said the meeting did not constitute a close contact that required self-isolation, the spokesman added.
Macron was also photographed shaking hands with OECD chief Angel Gurria, who is 70.
Macron's illness comes as negotiations between Britain and the EU over a post-Brexit deal near their crunch point, with France saying it would rather veto a bad deal than sacrifice its fishermen.
World leaders were quick to react to the announcement.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wished Macron a full and fast recovery on Twitter, both in French and in English.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson sent his best wishes on Thursday.
"Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery," Johnson said on Twitter. He also posted the same message in French.

France's president is the latest among a number of global figures who have been diagnosed with the virus.

Early in October, US President Donald Trump announced that he had tested positive for the coronavirus, making the announcement via Twitter, adding that he and his wife would both be quarantined. He tested negative a couple of weeks later and returned to his campaign ahead of the elections, which took place in November.

Among other leaders who have been infected with coronavirus are UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, EU Chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, former president of India Pranab Mukherjee and French Finance Minister Bruno Lemaire.