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France's Macron tests positive for Covid, prompting other top EU officials to isolate

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Key Points
  • The diagnosis was established "as soon as the first symptoms appeared," Macron's office said.
  • The French president, 42, will self-isolate for seven days.
  • Several other world leaders have tested positive for the coronavirus this year, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
French President Emmanuel Macron wearing a protective face mask looks on as he makes a statement next to Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas following their meeting at the Elysee Palace on October 28, 2020 in Paris, France.
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French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19, his office announced Thursday, prompting several other European officials to go into quarantine. It comes just days after France had started relaxing restrictions against the pandemic.

The diagnosis was established "as soon as the first symptoms appeared," Elysee Palace said in a brief statement that did not provide details about his symptoms. "In accordance with the health instructions in force applicable to all, 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 will go into quarantine because they had been in contact with Macron in recent days.

Sanchez, who had lunch with Macron on Monday, said he would suspend all public activities through to Christmas Eve.

Macron has also met with the OECD's Angel Gurria this week. The French president hosted a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Covid curfew

France has recorded more cases of the coronavirus than any other European nation and is behind only the U.S., India, Brazil and Russia, respectively, for the highest number of infections worldwide.

More than 2.4 million people have contracted Covid in France, including 59,472 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The Champs-Elysees Avenue and the Arc de Triomphe are seen after the Christmas illuminations were switched on in Paris, France, Nov. 22, 2020.
Xinhua News Agency | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

Earlier this week, Macron eased a six-week ban on movement with an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew until mid-January, except for Christmas Eve.

The public health measures stipulate that museums, theaters, cinemas, bars and restaurants all must remain closed until January at least.

French ski resorts also remain shut, but Macron has said the hugely popular tourist spots may be able to reopen "under favorable conditions" from next month.

UK's Johnson wishes Macron a 'speedy recovery'

Macron is one of several world leaders to have tested positive for the coronavirus this year, including U.S. President Donald Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson — who was admitted to intensive care during his own personal battle with Covid in April — said via Twitter that he was sorry to hear Macron had tested positive for Covid, wishing him a speedy recovery.

Britain's post-Brexit transition period ends on Dec. 31 and the pressure is on for talks between the U.K. and the EU to reach a trade deal before then.

The EU and the U.K.'s Parliament must ratify a deal if there is an agreement.

One of the sticking points has been fishing rights, with Macron pushing for guaranteed access to British fishing waters. The U.K., meanwhile, has insisted a new agreement on fisheries must be based on the understanding that "British fishing grounds are first and foremost for British boats."