France’s President Macron tests positive for coronavirus

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French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the presidential Elysee Palace announced on Thursday. It said the president took a test “as soon as the first symptoms appeared.”

The brief statement did not say what symptoms Macron experienced. It said he would isolate himself for seven days. “He will continue to work and take care of his activities at a distance,” it added, as reported by The Associated Press (AP).

It was not immediately clear what contact tracing efforts were in progress. Macron attended a European Union summit at the end of last week, and he met Wednesday with the prime minister of Portugal. There was no immediate comment from Portuguese officials.

Over 59,300 people have died in France of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures. The recording of over 17,000 new cases on Wednesday alone has also generated concern as people shop and travel more intensely ahead of the Christmas holidays.

Like other EU states, France is pinning its hopes on a vaccine to quell the virus and Prime Minister Jean Castex said Wednesday the country will receive around 1.16 million COVID-19 vaccine doses by year end, according to Agence France-Press.