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French President Macron tests positive for COVID-19

Last Updated Dec 17, 2020 at 8:39 am PST

France's President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech during a Citizens' Convention on Climate, in Paris, Monday, Dec. 14. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, Pool)

French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19

Macron tested positive for COVID-19 after a week in which he met with numerous European leaders

Contact tracing is under way; Macron's wife, who tested negative Tuesday, also self-isolating, has shown no symptoms

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for COVID-19, the presidential Elysee Palace announced on Thursday.

It said the 42-year-old 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.

His diagnosis comes after a week in which he met with numerous European leaders. The French and Spanish prime ministers and EU Council president were among many top officials self-isolating because they had recent contact with him.

Macron’s wife, Brigitte, 67, will also be self-isolating but has no symptoms of the virus so far. She tested negative on Tuesday ahead of a visit to a Paris hospital, her office said.

Contact tracing is now underway, the government said, adding the president began to feel symptoms overnight.

He is expected to continue working from the Elysee presidential palace.

“The virus has been circulating in France and worldwide for several months and the presidency and government are used to working in these circumstances,” French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.

Macron joined a growing list of leaders who have tested positive for the virus, including U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who wished him a speedy recovery on Twitter.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for COVID-19 in March. Her diagnosis forced the prime minister, as well as their children, into self-isolation, despite none of them contracting the virus.

Trudeau took to Twitter Thursday morning after news of Macron’s diagnosis.

“Hope you get well soon, @EmmanuelMacron,” the prime minister writes. “Sophie and I are sending you our warmest wishes. Let’s keep working together to end the pandemic.”

France has a tradition of keeping strict medical privacy, including for top officials, and Macron once said he would release health information only when justified by the impact it could have on his presidency.

Macron has rarely been seen in public without a mask in recent months, only removing it when making a speech or at a press conference when he is at safe distance from others. For several months, masks have been required in all indoor public places in France and everywhere outdoors in big cities.

The French president has had multiple in-person meetings in recent days at home and in Brussels where he attended a European Union summit at the end of last week. The Elysee palace confirmed that a trip to Lebanon scheduled for next week is being canceled.

Some have questioned Macron’s many activities as the country is implementing strict anti-virus measures, including a lockdown since October that was only partially lifted on Tuesday and now includes a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. All restaurants and bars, tourist sites and many other public places remain closed.