Woops… French president ‘embraces’ Portuguese PM before ‘manifesting symptoms of Covid’

Anyone watching yesterday’s news will have seen Portuguese prime minister António Costa doing the ‘safe EU embrace’ when he met President Macron in Paris yesterday – only to be warmly rubbed on both of his demurely crossed arms.

Now it appears President Macron was infected with Covid-19 at the time.

With Mr Macron embarking on a seven-day period of self-isolation, Mr Costa has had to cancel all his appointments.

Say reports, the PM had a test booked today anyway as he was due to fly to Guiné Bissau and São Tomé on Friday.

It is unlikely that he could test ‘positive’ in such a short space of time (see below)- but the Portuguese PM could be incubating the virus, so he will have to ‘work from home’ for the next few days at least.

Mr Costa’s agenda for today was predictably busy, with yet another Council of Ministers taking place in Lisbon, plus a meeting on the national vaccination programme and a video conference with EU leaders, at least one of whom (Pedro Sanches, prime minister of Spain) is already in ‘self isolation’.

Reading between the lines, Mr Macron’s condition sounds ‘good’. An announcement from the Elysée Palace says he will be continuing working while in isolation.


PM Costa’s Covid test today was negative. He will stay in prophylactic isolation and is likely to take another test in the space of a few more days if he doesn’t show any symptoms of the virus.