France’s president Emmanuel Macron is suffering a fever, a cough and fatigue and has a military doctor at his bedside in Versailles after catching coronavirus, it emerged today.
Macron, 42, is staying at a residence called La Lanterne after testing positive for Covid-19 in a result which sparked frantic contact-tracing among EU leaders.
The Elysee’s chief physician Jean-Christophe Perrochon is staying with Macron during his quarantine, according to Le Parisien, while first lady Brigitte Macron, 67, is isolating separately in Paris.
While Macron is in a younger age group than most world leaders and is not known to have any medical problems, he had already developed symptoms by the time his diagnosis was announced on Thursday.
Macron is suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, officials with the presidency said on Friday. They would not provide details of his treatment.
In the days before his positive test, he had rubbed shoulders with a long list of EU leaders in Paris and Brussels – with the leaders of Spain and Portugal among those now in isolation.
THURSDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a screen wearing a face mask and giving the thumbs up to the camera after he tested for Covid-19 and is now self-isolating
Macron, 42, is staying at a residence called La Lanterne (pictured) in Versailles and is suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, it emerged today
Macron, who joins Britain’s Boris Johnson and US president Donald Trump in a growing list of world leaders who have contracted Covid-19, will isolate for seven days but plans to continue running the country via video conference.
He has also cancelled a planned December 22 trip to Lebanon, where he has been spearheading efforts at reform after the disastrous Beirut port explosion in August.
Last night, Macron appeared on screen at a conference on French foreign aid policy, wearing a mask but not looking visibly ill.
On Thursday, an aide to Mr Macron admitted that Mr Macron made an ‘unfortunate’ mistake in shaking hands with fellow politicians, saying: ‘There’s no denying it.’
Macron had embraced Portuguese premier Antonio Costa as recently as Wednesday, and shook hands with 70-year-old OECD chief Jose Angel Gurria on Monday.
A presidential official indicated that Macron was likely already infected by then because he had probably contracted the virus at last week’s EU summit.
Macron mingled with fellow EU leaders in the summit room and was filmed giving fist-bumps to some of his counterparts.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, 66, tested negative for the virus after attending the summit along with all but two of the EU’s 27 heads of government.
The president took a test ‘as soon as the first symptoms appeared,’ the Elysee said in a brief statement on Thursday morning.
An official added later that he was experiencing ‘light symptoms’ which he had started to feel late on Wednesday.
WEDNESDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron with Prime Minister Of Portugal Antonio Costa, 59, at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday
MONDAY: Macron (second from left) meets with dignitaries for a meeting of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development: European Council President Charles Michel, Secretary General Angel Gurria, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, and UNESCO general director Audrey Azoulay
MONDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron pats Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the back as he arrives for work at the palace on Monday
MONDAY: Macron shakes hands and holds 70-year-old Angel Gurria, the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, on Monday at the palace
Jean Castex, France’s Prime Minister, said he would also self-isolate after coming into regular contact with his boss.
Political party chiefs from the Senate and National Assembly, said they would do the same because they had a lunch with Mr Macron on Tuesday.
French government guidelines call for no more than six people to dine together during the pandemic, but there were as many as 20 people around Macron’s table.
Boris Johnson, who had an alarming scare with the virus in April, sent best wishes to his ‘friend’ Mr Macron in English and French on Thursday.
Mr Johnson tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear my friend Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery.’
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said she was with the French president ‘with all my heart’.
‘We are going to defeat this pandemic together,’ she said on Twitter. ‘We will continue to work hand in hand to immunise and protect our citizens.’
FRIDAY: Macron in a diplomatic scrum with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (left), uropean Council President Charles Michel (centre) and Hungarian PM Viktor Orban (right)
LAST THURSDAY: Macron speaking with the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen amid tense Brexit discussions – the virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10: French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, right, during a round table meeting during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels
MONDAY, DECEMBER 7: Mr Macron with his wife welcoming the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to the palace. Mr Macron’s 67-year-old wife Brigitte has also gone into isolation
Boris Johnson, who has been snubbed by Mr Macron on face-to-face Brexit talks, tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery.’
Embraces 59-year-old PM of Portugal Antonio Costa at Elysee Palace.
Meets with European Council President Charles Michel, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, OECD chief Angel Gurria, and UNESCO general director Audrey Azoulay.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11:
Macron takes centre stage at EU summit in Brussels – meets with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Mrs Merkel’s office said she tested negative after the summit.
Others in attendance included Dutch PM Mark Rutte, Belgian PM Alexander De Croo, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte and European Parliament President David Sassoli.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 10:
French president is seen in a diplomatic scrum with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
WHO IS SELF-ISOLATING?
Spanish PM Sanchez, EU Commission President Michel, French PM Jean Castex, Parliament speaker Richard Ferrand and Mr Macron’s wife Brigitte.
They have not tested positive.
Virus has incubation period of 14 days, meaning that anyone who came into contact with Mr Macron up to Dec. 3 is advised to get tested and self-isolate.
A key aspect of the EU talks was how to implement a Covid vaccine on the continent. The EU is lagging behind Britain, which has already begun injecting people with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
A decision by the EU’s regulator is expected in the coming days, according to officials including Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn.
Also dominating discussions was Brexit, with Macron coming into close quarters with both Merkel and Von der Leyen.
He was also seen gesturing in Hungarian leader Viktor Orban’s face while standing just a few yards from Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Others in attendance included Dutch PM Mark Rutte, Belgian PM Alexander De Croo, Italian PM Giuseppe Conte and European Parliament president David Sassoli.
Days after the summit, Macron took Portugal’s 59-year-old PM Antonio Costa in his arms on the steps of the Elysee.
He also welcomed dignitaries on Monday for an OECD meeting attended by Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez and European Council president Charles Michel.
Sanchez, Costa and Michel are among those isolating, although none of them say they have tested positive.
Macron’s wife Brigitte has gone into isolation for the second time, having quarantined in October after coming into contact with someone who tested positive.
France earlier this week eased restrictions imposed to battle the second wave of the coronavirus but infection rates remain high.
There is still a nationwide overnight curfew from 8 pm to halt the spread of the virus while restaurants and cafes as well as theatres and cinemas remain closed.
Over 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 the vaccine to quell the virus and Castex said Wednesday the country will receive around 1.16 million Covid-19 vaccine doses by year end.
Castex said that the start of the vaccine campaign was conditional on approval from the European Medicines Agency, expected on December 21.
‘It is only at the end of spring that we will open the vaccination programme to the entire population’, he added.
Another problem for the French authorities is that according to an opinion poll, only 53 percent of people want to be vaccinated, among the lowest rates in the world.
France recorded more than 17,000 new cases on Wednesday – sparking concern as people shop and travel more ahead of the Christmas holidays
The virus has resurfaced in France – as across the rest of Europe – and there are grave fears that deaths could spike in the colder winter months
Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron leave after an homage ceremony to WWII fighter and ‘Compagnon de la Liberation’ Daniel Cordier, in Paris, November 26
Brigitte Macron gives a dictation to school children in support for the European Leukodystrophy Association (ELA), at a school Le Chesnay, near Versailles on October 12
Macron and his wife Brigitte talk to volunteers of the association uvres de Secours aux Enfants (OSE), which takes care of sick and disabled children, in Paris, on October 6
MONDAY: Macron (l) speaks to Louise Ekland on stage during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 draw at Palais Brongniart
French Prime Minister Jean Castex (left) and French President Emmanuel Macron last month. Mr Castex is also self-isolating
World leaders who caught Covid
The US president, who has long played down the pandemic, caught the disease at the height of the presidential campaign in October.
The 74-year-old was admitted to hospital but soon made a theatrical return to the White House and boasted of his rapid recovery.
The 65-year-old Brazilian president had also played down the seriousness of the virus, calling it a ‘little flu’, but caught the disease in July.
During his quarantine, Mr Bolsonaro said: ‘I knew I was going to catch it someday, as I think unfortunately nearly everyone here is going to catch it eventually. What are you afraid of? Face up to it.’
The British prime minister, 56, was among world leaders the worst afflicted by coronavirus.
Mr Johnson was rushed to intensive care in April at the height of the pandemic in Europe.
Such was the severity of his illness that preparations were made should he die.
Prince Albert II of Monaco
The 62-year-old head of state caught coronavirus in March and medics gave him the all clear at the start of April.
The Russian Prime Minister caught the virus in April. Mishustin, 54, was forced to hand powers over to his colleagues while recovering from the disease.
The Prime Minister of Swaziland this week became the first world leader to die of Covid-19, two weeks after he was rushed to hospital in South Africa.
The 52-year-old tested positive for the disease in mid-November but was said to be feeling well and was asymptomatic. But his condition deteriorated and he was taken from the tiny landlocked nation to a hospital in neighbouring South Africa.
Juan Orlando Hernandez
The Honduras president announced in June that he had tested positive, along with two other people who worked closely with him. Hernandez said he had started what he called the ‘MAIZ treatment,’ an experimental and unproven combination of microdacyn, azithromycin, ivermectin and zinc.
He was briefly hospitalized and released. He has added his voice to growing pleas for equitable access to any COVID-19 vaccine, asking the recent U.N. gathering of world leaders, ‘Are people to be left to die?’
The president of Belarus, who dismissed concerns about the virus as ‘psychosis’ and recommended drinking vodka to stay healthy, said in July he had contracted it himself but was asymptomatic.
The Guatemalan president said he tested positive for the virus in September. ‘My symptoms are very mild. Up to now, I have body aches, it hurt more yesterday than today, like a bad cold,’ he said during a televised address. ‘I don’t have a fever, I have a bit of a cough.’ He said he’d be working from home.
The virus drove the Bolivian interim president into isolation in July, but she said she was feeling well.
The newly elected president of the Dominican Republic contracted and recovered from COVID-19 during his campaign. He spent weeks in isolation before the country’s July election.
Nuno Gomes Nabiam
Prime Minister of Guinea-Bissau said he tested positive in April.