18 December 2020 14:32
Virus-stricken Macron at presidential retreat with fever French President Emmanuel Macron is riding out the coronavirus in a presidential retreat at Versailles PARIS--As French President Emmanuel Macron rides out the coronavirus in a presidential retreat at Versailles, critics on Friday called out slip-ups in his virus protection behavior, from a close-quarters handshake to repeated big-group meals over the past week. It's seen as a bad example and unfair to his compatriots, just as France sees a new uptick in infections and doctors are warning families to stay cautious this holiday season — especially at the dinner table. While Macron usually wears a mask and adheres to social distancing rules, and has insisted that 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. Both were masked, but Macron's office acknowledged Friday the move was a "mistake." 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 — Macron, and most of the other leaders, were not masked.
Macron also hosted or took part in multiple large-group meals in the days before testing positive Thursday, including with members of his centrist party and rival politicians, while 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 people sitting far from the president that they are not considered at risk. Macron is suffering from fever, cough and fatigue, officials with the presidency said Friday. Macron's positive test comes as French health authorities are again seeing a rise in infections and are warning of more as French families prepare to get together for Christmas and New Year festivities. France reported another 18,254 new infections Thursday and its death toll is just under 60,000.