French President Emmanuel Macron has blamed his Covid-19 on a combination of negligence and bad luck.
In what looked like a self-shot video from the presidential retreat in Versailles where he was isolating, Macron said he was experiencing symptoms that included headaches, fatigue and a dry cough. He promised to give daily updates and be “totally transparent” about the evolution of his illness.
“I am doing well,” the 42-year-old French leader said, speaking softly with a bottle of gel on the desk behind him and dressed casually in a turtleneck top. “Normally, there is no reason for it to evolve in a bad way.”
Macron said his infection “shows that the virus really can touch everyone, because I am very protected and am very careful.”
“Despite everything I caught this virus — perhaps, doubtless, a moment of negligence, a moment of bad luck, too,” he said.
He urged his compatriots to stay safe as critics called out slip-ups in his behavior to prevent infection, from a close-quarters handshake to repeated big-group meals over the past week.
Macron has faced criticism for actions that were seen as setting a bad example as the country sees a new uptick in cases and doctors warn families to take precautions this holiday season — especially at the dinner table.
He usually wears a mask and adheres to social distancing rules, and has insisted that his virus strategy is driven by science. But he has been captured on camera in recent days violating France’s virus-control guidelines.
He shook hands and half-embraced the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, at a meeting Monday. Both were masked, but Macron’s office acknowledged Friday the move was a “mistake.”
A fellow European leader who spent time with Macron at the EU summit last week, Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic, tested positive for the virus on Friday. Ten other leaders at the EU summit have since tested negative; others either aren’t getting tested or haven’t released results.
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.