Was Emmanuel Macron careless in his conduct before testing positive for COVID-19?

Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday
Emmanuel Macron tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday Copyright Olivier Hoslet/AP
By Euronews
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Prior to his positive test result, the French president had attended multiple face-to-face events and held a number of working lunches - at least one of which has been criticised for potentially breaking the rules.


Emmanuel Macron has raised eyebrows among several compatriots who have suggested he was careless in the days leading up to his coronavirus diagnosis. 

The French president tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and has since taken himself to a retreat in Versailles to isolate. He later said he was feeling "well", despite developing a dry cough, fever and fatigue. 

Prior to this, however, Macron's calendar week was particularly busy, and included multiple face-to-face meetings, lunches and dinners - at least one of which appeared to break his own rules. 

Michel Euler/AP
Emmanuel Macron greets OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria at the Elysee PalaceMichel Euler/AP

It's not clear where the 42-year-old contracted the illness, although the French health minister predicted ground zero was an EU summit in Brussels last week. Here, EU leaders wore their masks to mingle and took them off when seated at a distance.

On Monday, Macron went to an event in Paris organised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), later hosting a working lunch at the Élysée Palace with several high-profile guests.

He was pictured warmly greeting his attendees: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, European Council President Charles Michel and OECD Secretary General Angel Gurria - apparently without social distancing.

On Wednesday, he hosted another working lunch with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa.

Sanchez, Michel, Gurria and Costa are all now quarantining themselves. 

Francois Mori/AP
Emmanuel Macron greets Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio CostaFrancois Mori/AP

Despite these meetings, it was Macron's working dinner attended by 10 people on Wednesday evening that gathered the most criticism

France currently recommends no more than six people dine together, while there is also a curfew between 8pm and 6am. 

"Where are the police?" one politician, Éric Coquerel, asked in reference to the event. "An irresponsible person, carrying COVID-19, we learn, is organising a meal for more than 10 people, by compulsory invitation and yet without protective measures." 

Another, François Ruffin, said: "For us normal people, it's no more than six at the table, even for New Year's Eve! There is one law for humans, while above the law is Jupiter and the heroes of Olympus."

The Federation of Doctors of France, however, did not quite agree, pointing out that 10 people were seated in a room that can hold 500. 

The federation told Euronews: "This largely respects the preventive measures."

Macron, also, has insisted he is particularly careful when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. 

"Yesterday, I tested positive," he said in a selfie video from Versailles on Friday, adding that his diagnosis was proof that the virus "can really affect everyone because I am very protected; I am very careful; I respect protective measures and distancing."

He continued: "And despite everything, I caught this virus, probably from a moment of neglect, a moment of bad luck, too."

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