Portugal’s Costa to self-isolate over Christmas after lunch with Macron

December 19, 2020

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa will self-isolate for 14 days, spending Christmas at his official residence, after meeting earlier this week with French President Emmanuel Macron, who is infected with coronavirus.

Lisbon’s regional health authority ARSLVT said in a statement cited by Lusa news agency that a working lunch between the two leaders on Wednesday was considered a “high-risk exposure” to the coronavirus.

Costa tested negative on Thursday, but ARSLVT said he would have to stay in isolation until Dec. 29, which will be 14 days after he met with Macron in Paris to discuss Portugal’s upcoming European Council presidency.

Macron tested positive on Thursday, prompting a track and trace effort across Europe, following meetings the French leader had with EU heads of government in recent days. Those included a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who has tested negative.

News photos showed Macron warmly welcoming Costa to the palace, with both wearing face masks as they stood shoulder to shoulder outside the entrance to the Elysee Palace.

Costa’s office said on Thursday he cancelled all in-person public activities, including an official trip to Sao Tome and Principe and Guinea Bissau this weekend, but would work remotely.

Macron said in a video posted on Twitter on Friday he was doing fine but was working at a slower pace.

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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