Sanchez, Michel isolate following Macron’s COVID diagnosis

Pedro Sanchez, Emmanuel Macron and Charles Michel at the OECD anniversary in Paris on 14 December. [Council Newsroom]

Council President Charles Michel and Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez entered self-isolation after the announcement on Thursday (17 December) that French President Emmanuel Macron had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“The President of the Republic has been diagnosed positive for COVID-19 today,” Macron’s office said in a statement. “This diagnosis was made following a PCR test performed at the onset of the first symptoms.”

Macron would self-isolate for the next seven days and would continue to run the country remotely. His wife Brigitte was also self-isolating.

Prime Minister Jean Castex will also self isolate after coming into contact with Macron over the last few days, although he has tested negative, his office said.

The French leader’s office, which declined to give details of his condition or which symptoms he had, said all Macron’s trips had been cancelled, including a 22 December visit to Lebanon.

Macron attended a European summit late last week at which he met a host of EU leaders to discuss the European Union’s budget, climate change and Turkey.

While the leaders were gathering in the summit room and initially mingling with their face masks on, they take them off once they sit down to talks, although remain quite far apart at their round table.

Macron and his wife Brigitte also hosted a private dinner with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, during which he awarded him the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.

This week Macron had lunch with European Council President Charles Michel as well as Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Sanchez’s office said he would quarantine until 24 December. An EU spokesman said Michel, would self-isolate as a precaution.

Macron was also photographed shaking hands with OECD chief Angel Gurria, who is 70.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who attended the OECD 60-year anniversary in Paris with Macron’s participation on Sunday, will not self-isolate, her spokesperson Eric Mamer said. He explained that she tested negative at her weekly check last Monday.

Among EU leaders Bulgarian PM Boyko Borissov and his Croatian colleague Andrej Plenković tested positive for COVID. After recovering, Borissov, who is 60 and suffers from obesity, described the experience as “tough”.

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