The double-vaccinated Prime Minister of France, Jean Castex, has been forced to go into quarantine after testing positive for the Chinese coronavirus on Monday.
Jean Castex, the second most powerful politician in France behind President Emmanuel Macron, was placed into isolation on Monday after developing “slight symptoms” for the Wuhan virus, including a “slight cough”.
“Everything will be arranged in the coming days so that he can continue his activities while being in isolation” for the next ten days, the Prime Minister’s office said in a statement.
The infection of the Prime Minister, who has two doses of coronavirus vaccines, has sent shockwaves throughout the French government as well as in Brussels, as Castex met with Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo just hours before testing positive for COVID-19, according to French broadcaster La Chaîne Info.
The Belgian government said that all those who met with the French leader have been placed into quarantine until they test negative for the virus.
Castex was accompanied on the trip to Brussels by many senior figures in the French government, including the Ministers of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, Armed Forces, Florence Parly, Justice, Eric Dupond-Moretti and the Secretary of State for Europe Clément Beaune. The PM was also accompanied by the heads of several Frech intelligence agencies.
Some of the ministers have already tested negative for the virus. French President Emmanuel Macron has also avoided the COVID scare, as he has not been in face-to-face contact with Castex since Wednesday of last week.
While France has seen rising cases of the Chinese coronavirus over the past month, it has so far avoided another national lockdown as has been imposed elsewhere in Europe like Austria and the Netherlands.
Explaining his rationale, Macron said that the vaccine passport system in France mitigates the need to impose restrictions on those who haven’t taken the jab.
“The countries that confine the unvaccinated are those that have not implemented the [health] pass. This measure is therefore not necessary in France,” he told La Voix du Nord on Thursday.
The vaccine passport system has come under some criticism in France, however, as both President Macron and Prime Minster Castex had their personal vaccine passports hacked and shared online in September.