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French PM Jean Castex tests negative after contact with confirmed COVID-19 case

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FILE: French Prime Minister Jean Castex speaks during a press conference in Paris - September 2020.
FILE: French Prime Minister Jean Castex speaks during a press conference in Paris - September 2020.   -   Copyright  Ludovic Marin/AP Photo
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French Prime Minister Jean Castex tested negative after being in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case but will self-isolate for the rest of the week before being retested seven days after the contact.

Castex spent Saturday with the director of the Tour de France, Christian Prudhomme, who has since tested positive for coronavirus.

The two men both wore masks the entire time, the Prime Minister's office said.

Speaking in front of a crowd on Tuesday, Castex said that he would "apply the rules that the government had decided" and would "immediately get tested".

The prime minister's office said in a statement released to French media that Castex was "in good health" and will self-isolate for seven days before being retested.

He will not do a full 14-day quarantine, the amount of time recommended by multiple health authorities if in contact with a confirmed case.

France's health ministry requires people who have been in contact with those who test positive for COVID-19 to get a test seven days after the last contact they had with that person.

Then if the test is negative, they do not have to isolate for the full 14 days, the health ministry confirmed to Euronews.

President Emmanuel Macron, speaking after the contact was revealed, said that Castex would be retested for the virus and that if the test was negative, he could "restart a normal life".

Macron said that Castex would "submit" to the same protocol as everyone else.

"We do for us what we require all citizens to do [in this situation]," Macron said.

Castex was attending a political party conference when he found out he was in contact with a confirmed case.

It comes as France is facing an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases with thousands of new cases per day. The country recorded Friday an all-time high in the number of daily reported cases, with a total of 8,975.

Additional sources • AFP