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France's Macron leaving isolation after week with the virus

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Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a screen from his presidential residence in Versailles as he attends by video conference the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020. French President Emmanuel Macron held a cabinet meeting Monday via video, in which he indicated the French could enforce "systematic tests" as a condition for French nationals returning from Britain to France for the holidays. (Julien de Rosa/Pool Photo via AP)

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron no longer has virus symptoms and was leaving isolation Thursday after a week with COVID-19, but is urging the French public to limit their contacts and remain vigilant to keep infections under control during the Christmas holidays.

Macron’s office said that he is finishing a week of isolation at a presidential retreat in Versailles based on French health protocols, which recommend seven days of confinement following the appearance of symptoms or a positive virus test.

In an apparently self-shot video from the presidential retreat last week, a tired-looking Macron said he was suffering from a dry cough, headaches and fatigue, and said negligence and bad luck led to him getting infected.

French authorities lifted virus restrictions for the holidays but infections remain high, and some doctors are urging new lockdown measures.

As families prepare to gather for traditional Christmas Eve dinners on Thursday, Karine Lacombe, head of the infectious disease department at Paris’ Saint-Antoine Hospital, warned: “It’s a risky evening, the meal is one of the most risky situations for transmitting the virus.”

But after an emotionally trying year, “it’s important to take into account the need to have some conviviality, it’s a balance between the benefit and the risk,” she said on France-Info radio.

France recorded nearly 15,000 new infections Wednesday and has seen nearly 62,000 confirmed virus-related deaths overall.

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