(CN) — French President Emmanuel Macron became the latest world leader to test positive for Covid-19 on Thursday after he showed mild symptoms overnight.
The Elysee said the 42-year-old president was self-isolating for seven days and working from his residence. His infection from the novel coronavirus showed up in a PCR test.
Macron had spent the previous week attending several meetings with other national leaders and top officials, raising the risk that he infected others.
Publicly, the French president has been seen obeying instructions to wear a mask, avoid shaking hands and generally maintaining physical distance from others. Still, at recent political meetings he’s been seen clasping arms, fist pumping and walking shoulder to shoulder with fellow politicians.
By Thursday afternoon, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and European Council President Charles Michel said they were self-isolating after having lunches with Macron. In addition, his wife, Brigitte Macron, and French Prime Minister Jean Castex were in self-isolation, though both reportedly tested negative. Staff at the Elysee, the presidential palace, also were being tested and were self-isolating.
Last Thursday and Friday, Macron attended a Brussels summit for the European Union’s 27 national leaders. Beside meeting politicians, Macron recently attended an event where match-ups for the 2023 rugby World Cup in France were drawn.
The Elysee said Macron has canceled a pending trip to Lebanon, where he was due to visit French troops and meet Lebanese officials. Macron has become deeply involved in Lebanon, which is going through a period of turmoil caused by civil unrest, economic collapse and widespread protests against corruption.
French media said it was uncertain how Macron had become infected and that health officials were tracing his recent contacts.
Macron’s positive test comes two days after France lifted lockdown measures, though a curfew remains in effect and restaurants and theaters are closed.
France has been one of Europe’s worst-hit nations in the pandemic and it continues to struggle to bring the virus under control. In recent days, it has reported more than 11,000 new infections a day and nearly 400 daily deaths. In November, France reported more than 40,000 new cases and 600 deaths a day. Since the pandemic started, more than 59,360 deaths in France have been linked to Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Macron joins a long list of political leaders and public figures who have tested positive. Most prominently, U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro all tested positive earlier this year. Unlike Macron, all three men downplayed the threat posed by the virus and their actions were blamed for worsening outbreaks in their countries.
Courthouse News reporter Cain Burdeau is based in the European Union.