Following the announcement that he tested positive for Covid-19, President Emmanuel Macron had on Friday blamed his contraction of the disease on a combination of negligence and bad luck.
The French leader in a video as he is currently self-isolating at the presidential retreat in Versailles urged his compatriots to stay safe.
Macron said he was experiencing symptoms that included headaches, fatigue, and a dry cough and 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 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.
Critics were quick to call out slip-ups in his behavior that paved the way for the infection, he was criticized for setting a bad example and instances of the French president violating the virus-control guidelines were captured on camera in recent days.
For example, he was captured on camera engaging in a close-quarters handshake to an embrace with the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Costa, 59, in Paris on Wednesday and repeated big group meals, not to mention the handshakes and half embrace he had with the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Angel Gurria, 70, at a meeting Monday but Macron’s office acknowledged Friday the move was a ‘mistake.’
Macron usually wears a mask in public and adheres to social distancing rules, and has insisted that his virus strategy is driven by science.
In his video message on Friday, the president suggested that his behavior had helped limit the spread of the virus.
‘Had I not respected the rules, the barrier measures, I would have caught it much faster and, most of all, I would have transmitted it in the preceding hours to many more people,’ Macron said.
He urged people to ‘hold firm’ and look after each other during the festive season, warning: ‘The virus is picking up, even stronger.’
Despite his diagnosis, Macron plans to continue running the country and went ahead with a planned speech by video conference on Thursday.
He said: ‘I am working at a slightly slower pace because of the virus, but I shall continue to focus on high-priority issues, such as our handling of the epidemic, or, for example, the Brexit dossier.’
Macron joins Britain’s PM Boris Johnson and US President Donald Trump in a growing list of world leaders who have contracted Covid-19.
Both Trump and Johnson fully recovered after intensive care.
France reported another 18,254 new infections Thursday and its death toll is just under 60,000.
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 18, 2020