French President Emmanuel Macron is the latest world leader to test positive for COVID-19, joining a growing list of others just as inoculation drives against the illness are beginning in a number of countries.
Macron, 42, has repeatedly said he is sticking to strict sanitary protocols during the pandemic, including not shaking hands, wearing a mask and keeping distance from other people. The Elysee Palace announced on Thursday that Macron would be isolating for seven days.
President Donald Trump announced in October that he and his wife, first lady Melania Trump, tested positive for the coronavirus. For months, Trump was accused of downplaying the virus that has killed more than 300,000 Americans. At 74, the U.S. president was the oldest head of state to become infected with the virus to date, and his age put him at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19. Trump was hospitalized for three days, and after staging a dramatic return to the White House, he continued to minimize the severity of the virus.
The British prime minister was the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19, after facing criticism for downplaying the pandemic. He was moved to intensive care in April after his symptoms dramatically worsened a day after he was hospitalized for what were called routine tests. He was given oxygen but did not need a ventilator, officials said. He later expressed his gratitude to National Health Service staff for saving his life when his condition could have “gone either way.” Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, also tested positive in March and showed mild symptoms.
The Brazilian president announced his illness in July and used it to publicly extol hydroxychloroquine, the unproven malaria drug that he’d been promoting as a treatment for COVID-19 and was taking himself. For months he had flirted with the virus, calling it a “little flu,” as he flouted social distancing at lively demonstrations and encouraged crowds during outings from the presidential residence, often without a mask.