French President Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19, his office said in statement yesterday.
Macron was tested after showing mild symptoms of the disease, and would isolate for seven days and continue to work, the statement said.
An official at the Elysee Palace declined to provide details on the circumstances of the infection or where the president would be isolating.
The diagnosis comes at a particularly sensitive time for Macron. France is struggling to tame the pandemic, with the president fielding unrelenting criticism of his handling of the crisis and the economic fallout.
Macron is the third leader of a G7 nation to contract COVID-19, after US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Also yesterday, the WHO told a news conference that Beijing would welcome an international team of COVID-19 investigators led by the global health organization that is scheduled to visit China next month.
China has strongly opposed calls for an international inquiry into the origins of COVID-19, saying that such calls are anti-China, but has been open to a WHO-led investigation.
“The WHO continues to contact China, and to discuss the international team and the places they visit,” said Babatunde Olowokure, the WHO’s regional emergencies director in the Western Pacific. “Our understanding at this time is that China is welcoming the international team and their visit... This is anticipated, as far as we are aware, to happen in early January.”
A team of 12 to 15 international experts is preparing to go to Wuhan to examine evidence, including human and animal samples collected by Chinese researchers.
Thea Fischer, a Danish member, said the team would leave “just after New Year’s” for a six-week mission, including a two-week quarantine upon arrival.
A similar, but not identical virus was identified in a horseshoe bat, indicating that it was transmitted first to an animal, or intermediate host, before infecting humans, Keith Hamilton, an expert at the World Organization for Animal Health who is to take part, told reporters on Tuesday.
“When we are doing animal surveillance, it’s difficult. It’s rather like looking for a needle in a haystack,” he said.
Some Western countries have voiced concern at the delay in sending international experts.
One senior Western diplomat complained of a lack of transparency while experts were not on the ground talking to clinicians and researchers or inspecting lab samples.
However, another Western diplomat said that the mission was on a “good footing” and that the WHO had to accept China’s terms to secure access.
Additional reporting by Reuters
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