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Emmanuel Macron at presidential retreat in Versailles with fever

The French president is also suffering from a cough and fatigue after his positive test for coronavirus.

LAST UPDATE | 18 Dec 2020

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron has a fever, cough and fatigue as he suffers from coronavirus in Versailles, officials have said.

They would not provide details of his treatment but said he is staying at the presidential residence of La Lanterne in the former royal city.

While Macron usually wears a mask and adheres to social distancing rules, and has insisted his virus strategy is driven by science, the 42-year-old president has been captured on camera in recent days violating France’s own guidelines.

He shook hands and half-embraced the head of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Angel Gurria, at a meeting on Monday.

Both wore masks but Macron’s office acknowledged that the move was a “mistake”.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin had to be tested for Covid-19 following contact with Macron. He later tested negative.

He attended a meeting with President Macron at the European Council in Brussels on Thursday and Friday last week.

Last week, Macron spent two days in intense negotiations at an EU summit in Brussels with the leaders of the other 26 EU countries.

Video excerpts released by the EU showed the leaders spread out in a circle in a huge meeting room but Macron and most of the other leaders were not wearing masks.

Macron also hosted or took part in multiple large group meals in the days before testing positive yesterday, including with members of his party and rival politicians.

French people are currently advised to avoid gatherings larger than six people.

His office has been contacting those present for the meals but told some who were sitting far from the president that they are not considered to be at risk.

US President Donald Trump has spoken with French President Emmanuel Macron to wish him a quick recovery after becoming infected with the coronavirus, the White House said this evening.

In the conversation, which the White House said took place yesterday, Trump “wished President Macron a speedy recovery and quick return to his full duties,” spokesman Judd Deere said.

“President Trump also extended his best wishes for a Merry Christmas to President Macron, his family, and the People of France,” the statement said.

Macron’s positive test comes amid a rise in infections and warnings of more as French families prepare to get together for Christmas and New Year festivities.

France reported another 18,254 new infections yesterday and its death toll is now just under 60,000.

The Pasteur Institute released a study today suggesting meal times at home and in public are a major source of contamination.

Pasteur epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet said on France-Inter radio Friday that during the holidays “we can see each other, simply not be too numerous and at critical moments at meals, not too many people at the same table”.

Macron took a test “as soon as the first symptoms appeared” yesterday morning and will self-isolate for seven days, in line with national health authorities’ recommendations, the presidency said.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran suggested the president might have been infected at an EU summit in Brussels last week but Macron had multiple meetings in Paris as well.

Europe’s first virus case was in France in January but Macron’s government came under criticism for not having enough masks or tests and not confining the population quickly enough.

A strict two-month lockdown brought infections down and France sent children back to school and their parents back to work.

But infections surged again in autumn so he declared a new, softer lockdown in October aimed at relieving pressure on hospitals.

The measures were relaxed slightly this week, though restaurants, tourist sites, gyms and some other facilities remain closed.

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