French President Tests Positive For Covid 19

Mr Macron attended a two-day European Council heads of state summit, which finished last Friday.

However, the French president is considered to have become potentially contagious as of Monday evening.

All sanitary measures were observed during last week’s meeting and the council has not been informed of any other participants testing positive, the source added.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wore a mask at the summit and tested negative for the virus on Tuesday, German officials said after hearing the news about President Macron.

A French presidential spokeswoman confirmed that all of Mr Macron’s forthcoming trips, including a scheduled visit to Lebanon on 22 December, had been cancelled.

The Elysée is doing everything to project an image of business as usual. Already President Macron is back at work, and a meeting with his finance and foreign ministers has gone ahead as planned – though with the visitors in an adjacent room.

It’s being emphasised that the workings of government have already been radically adapted for Covid – with video conferences now the norm – so unless the president takes a turn for the worse no-one will notice much of a difference.

And meanwhile – as with any ordinary citizen – the trace-and-test system has kicked in, and numerous dignitaries foreign and domestic have been told the bad news that they have to self-isolate.

The message is clear: Emmanuel Macron may be the president of France – but for the purposes of the virus he is a human like any other. So he will behave according to the rules.

On Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed EU countries could start vaccinating people against the virus from 27 December, if the EU regulator approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is due to meet on Monday to evaluate the vaccine which is already being rolled out in the US and UK.

The EU says it plans to carry out a co-ordinated vaccination campaign across its 27 member states to ensure fair access to doses. However, it will be down to each state to determine who gets priority for the injections.

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.

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.

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.


Frank Fremer is a seasoned journalist, blogger and political analyst for over a decade in Uganda

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