France’s Emmanuel Macron tests positive for Covid-19, sending other European leaders into quarantine

(CNN) – French President Emmanuel Macron has a “fever” and is “tired [and] coughing” after testing positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, according to an Élysée spokesperson.

Macron will self-isolate for a week, his office said. The 42-year-old French leader has traveled from Paris to the presidential residence La Lanterne in Versailles for his 7-day quarantine, according to the spokesperson.

French First Lady Brigitte Macron, 67, remains at the Élysée Palace in Paris and has protectively gone into quarantine though she “presented no symptoms,” her office told French media.

“(Macron) is isolated all the while being able to continue working,” the spokesperson said, adding that the president had received messages of support from leaders around the world on Thursday. He took a phone call from US President

Donald Trump, who had the coronavirus earlier this year, at 9pm local time (3pm ET.).

His diagnosis sent ripples through the French and European political sphere, with multiple figures now forced to quarantine.

Prime Minister Jean Castex has gone into quarantine, despite testing negative on Thursday morning. President of the National Assembly Richard Ferrand is also quarantining for seven days.

Macron’s planned trip to Lebanon next week has been canceled.

The French President had meetings with a number of other top European leaders in recent days, several of whom announced they would quarantine in the wake of Macron’s diagnosis.

Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, European Council President Charles Michel and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria said they would go into quarantine as a precautionary measure.

French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, who is now in quarantine.

Macron at the Elysee on Tuesday with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who is also quarantining as a precaution.
The Élysée said Macron was diagnosed for Covid-19 after being tested “at the onset of the first symptoms.”

An EU official in the European Council, who is not authorized to speak on the record about protocol measures, told CNN that “all sanitary measures were observed, and we have not been informed of any other participant or staff present during the summit who tested positive.”

Gurria said on Twitter that he was quarantining and testing, and that all relevant steps were being taken to safeguard the wellbeing of guests and staff at the OECD event.

Michel, Macron, Gurria, Sanchez, and UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay at the OECD headquarters in Paris on Monday.

Spain’s Prime Minister Sanchez tested negative for Covid-19 on Thursday and will quarantine until December 24, according to a statement from his office. He sent his “best wishes” to Macron in a tweet. A European Commission spokesman said Michel would go into quarantine “as a precaution,” but noted that Michel had tested negative as recently as Tuesday.

Irish premier Micheál Martin tested negative for coronavirus on Thursday afternoon, a government spokesman told CNN.

Martin had announced earlier in the day that he was “limiting his movements,” after attending the European Council meeting.

Macron is the latest major world leader to test positive for the novel coronavirus. US President Donald Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, key French allies, were both hospitalized after contracting the virus earlier in the pandemic.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel (center) and Macron at the EU Leaders Summit in Brussels on Friday, December 11.

“Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery,” Johnson tweeted Thursday.

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen wished Macron “a quick recovery.”

France has been in a lockdown since early November. It was due to be lifted this week, but this has been delayed as new cases remain well above the target of 5,000 per day that Macron had set as a precondition to lifting the restrictions.

France on Wednesday reported 17,615 new coronavirus cases, its highest figure since November 21, bringing it to more than 2.4 million infections since the start of the pandemic. The country also reported 289 deaths Wednesday, taking it to a total of 59,361 Covid-19 fatalities.

French television showed footage of artists and cultural workers protesting throughout the country on Tuesday after theaters, museums, and cinemas did not reopen as planned. They will instead remain closed for three additional weeks, Castex said.

The curfew hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. were also extended on Tuesday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. However, French citizens will no longer need certificates to leave their homes, Castex said. They will also be allowed to travel to other regions. Restaurants and cafés are still scheduled to reopen on January 20, 2021.