PARIS (AP) – As French President Emmanuel Macron rides the coronavirus in a presidential retreat in Versailles, French doctors are warning families heading to the holidays to remain cautious due to rising infections – especially at the dinner table.
While Macron typically wears a mask and follows the rules of social distancing, he hosted or took part in several group meals in the days before the positive test on Thursday. Critics say this is a bad example for compatriots advised to keep their meetings to six people.
Macron is suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, presidential officials said on Friday. He would not provide details about his treatment. He is staying at the La Lanterne presidential residence in the former royal city of Versailles.
Macron’s positive test comes as French health authorities again see an increase in infections and warn others as French families prepare to reunite for the Christmas and New Year festivities. France reported another 18,254 new infections on Thursday, and the death toll is just under 60,000.
The French institute Pasteur launched a study on Friday suggesting that lunch hours at home and in public are a major source of contamination. Epidemiologist Pasteur Arnaud Fontanet told France-Inter radio on Friday that, during the holidays, “we can see each other, we are simply not too numerous, and in critical moments at meals, not too many people at the same table.”
Macron’s assistants hurried to contact all the people he had been with in the last few days. The French health minister suggested he could have been infected at an EU summit in Brussels last week, but Macron also had several meetings in Paris.
Macron took a test “as soon as the first symptoms appeared” on Thursday morning and will isolate himself for seven days, in accordance with the recommendations of the national health authorities, the presidency said in a short statement. The 42-year-old president “will continue to work and take care of his activities remotely,” the statement added. Macron continued on Thursday with a planned speech by videoconference.