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French President Macron Tests Positive for Covid-19

PARIS—French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said Thursday, delivering a blow to a country that has been among Europe’s hardest hit by the pandemic.

The 42-year-old was tested after showing symptoms of Covid-19, the Élysée Palace said, adding that he would isolate for seven days while continuing to work. Mr. Macron has a fever, a cough and is tired, a spokesman for the Elysée Palace said.

Mr. Macron’s test result immediately rippled across Europe, affecting the activities of a number of leaders who have recently been in contact with him. The Élysée Palace said he received his test results on Thursday but didn’t specify when the test was administered.

The French leader has maintained a busy schedule this fall as France grappled with an onslaught of Covid-19 infections that triggered a six-week lockdown, which was recently replaced with an 8 p.m. curfew. Bars, restaurants, and theaters have remained closed across France, but the government has allowed stores and many other businesses to resume operations for the Christmas shopping season. The government plans to relax the curfew on Christmas Eve, allowing holiday gatherings to take place.

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The news of the week in context, with Tyler Blint-Welsh.

On Monday, Mr. Macron hosted a lunch with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, European Council President Charles Michel and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurría. That was followed by a Tuesday lunch with the party whips of France’s National Assembly. On Wednesday, he lunched with Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and presided over a cabinet meeting, in which everyone present wore masks and adhered to social-distancing guidelines, a spokeswoman said.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex will isolate for seven days and get himself tested after being in close contact with the president in recent days, his office said. Mr. Sánchez said he planned to isolate until Dec. 24 and suspend all activities while he undergoes testing. Mr. Michel tested negative for the virus as recently as Tuesday, his office said, adding that he planned to isolate as a precautionary measure.

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Brigitte Macron, the president’s wife, will also isolate for seven days, her office said. The 67-year-old hasn’t shown any symptoms and tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, her office added.

Mr. Macron is the latest in a series of world leaders to have tested positive for the coronavirus. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to an intensive-care unit after testing positive in April, and President Trump was hospitalized after showing symptoms in October.

“We are all wishing you a speedy recovery,” Mr. Johnson wrote in a Twitter post on Thursday.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced new lockdown measures in late October, as Europe saw mounting cases and deaths related to the coronavirus. Photo: Christophe Simon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images (Originally Published Oct. 28, 2020)

The lockdown that Mr. Macron announced in late October helped significantly reduce the circulation of the virus in France, which has recently reported fewer infections than most of its European neighbors, including Germany and the U.K.

Still, new infections remain far above the target of 5,000 that the government set going into the holiday season. In recent weeks, France’s seven-day average of new daily infections has leveled off at around 11,000 cases, down from a peak of more than 50,000 in early November.

The government has urged people not to let their guard down, and delayed the reopening of museums, theaters and cinemas that were initially scheduled to reopen Tuesday.

MORE ON EUROPE’S FIGHT WITH COVID-19

Source: WSJ

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