French President Emmanuel Macron has tested positive for Covid-19 and is self-isolating.
The 42-year-old took a test ‘as soon as the first symptoms appeared,’ the Elysee Palace said in a brief statement.
Mr Macron will isolate for seven days but plans to continue running the country via video conference.
Frantic contact tracing is now afoot as the president has been centre stage in Brexit negotiations and only yesterday embraced the Prime Minister of Portugal in Paris.
Boris Johnson, who has been snubbed by Mr Macron on face-to-face Brexit talks, tweeted: ‘Sorry to hear my friend @EmmanuelMacron has tested positive for coronavirus. We are all wishing you a speedy recovery.’
WEDNESDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron with Prime Minister Of Portugal Antonio Costa, 59, at the Elysee Palace on Wednesday
MONDAY: French President Emmanuel Macron pats Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on the back as he arrives for work at the palace on Monday
MONDAY: Macron shakes hands and holds 70-year-old Angel Gurria, the Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, on Monday at the palace
LAST THURSDAY: Macron speaking with the EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen amid tense Brexit discussions – the virus has an incubation period of up to 14 days
French President Emmanuel Macron, center, speaks with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, right, during a round table meeting during an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, on December 10
Mr Macron’s 67-year-old wife, Brigitte Macron, has also gone into isolation for the second time.
WEDNESDAY: Embraces 59-year-old PM of Portugal Antonio Costa at Elysee Palace.
MONDAY: Meets with European Council President Charles Michel, Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez, OECD chief Angel Gurria.
FRIDAY: Macron takes centre stage at EU summit in Brussels – meets with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
LAST THURSDAY: French president is seen in a diplomatic scrum with Hungarian PM Viktor Orban and Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
Ms Macron self-isolated for a week in October after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Mr Macron joined dozens of other European leaders, including the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for a summit in Brussels last Thursday.
A key aspect of their talks was how to implement a Covid vaccine on the continent – the EU is lagging behind Britain because its central regulatory body must take into account all 27 member states.
Also dominating discussions was Brexit and Macron was pictured having a close chat with President von der Leyen last Thursday.
He was also picture gesturing in the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s face while standing just a few yards from the Austrian Chancellor Viktor Orban.
And only yesterday, the French President embraced the 59-year-old PM of Portugal Mr Costa on the steps of the Elysee Palace.
The tactile Mr Macron was pictured again at the palace on Monday welcoming dignitaries including European Council President Charles Michel, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and the chief of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Angel Gurria.
The French president is one of several heads of state and government around the world who have contracted Covid-19, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump.
France earlier this week eased restrictions imposed to battle the second wave of the coronavirus but infection rates remain high.
There is still a nationwide overnight curfew from 8 pm to halt the spread of the virus while restaurants and cafes as well as theatres and cinemas remain closed.
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.
MONDAY: Macron welcomes European Council President Charles Michel to the palace
Macron during an EU summit in Brussels last Friday – he has been surrounded by other heads of state and diplomats
MONDAY: Macron (l) speaks to Louise Ekland on stage during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 draw at Palais Brongniart
MONDAY: Macron, without a mask, bumps elbows with the OECD’s 70-year-old Secretary General Angel Gurria on Monday
WEDNESDAY: Macron, right, and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa answer reporters
World leaders who caught Covid
The US president, who famously referred to the virus as a hoax, caught the disease at the height of the presidential campaign in October.
The 74-year-old was admitted to hospital but made a rapid recovery to get back out on the campaign trail.
The 65-year-old Brazilian president had played down the seriousness of the virus, calling it a ‘little flu, but caught the disease in July.
During his quarantine, Mr Bolsonaro said: ‘I knew I was going to catch it someday, as I think unfortunately nearly everyone here is going to catch it eventually. What are you afraid of? Face up to it.’
The British Prime Minister, 56, was among world leaders the worst afflicted by coronavirus.
Mr Johnson was rushed to intensive care in April at the height of the pandemic in Europe.
Such was the severity of his illness that preparations were made should he die.
Prince Albert II of Monaco
The 62-year-old head of state caught coronavirus in March and medics gave him the all clear at the start of April.
The Russian Prime Minister caught the virus in April. Mishustin, 54, was forced to hand powers over to his colleagues while recovering from the disease.