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French president’s COVID diagnosis inspires accusations of hypocrisy

While some mainstream media are touting the image of a 'responsible' president now self-isolating, social media and an increasing number of public figures have reacted with anger.
Thu Dec 17, 2020 - 9:03 pm EST
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French president Emmanuel Macron. James Chehab / Shutterstock.com

ANALYSIS

December 17, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — French President Emmanuel Macron, 42, tested positive for COVID-19 this Thursday after displaying “mild” symptoms of the disease related to the Wuhan coronavirus. According to the French government’s spokesman, Gabriel Attal, who gave an update on the president’s condition on Thursday evening, Macron has a “slight” fever, a bad cough, and severe fatigue. He has gone into isolation, and not only he: at a time when the French are being encouraged to telecommute, avoid contacts as much as possible, and observe an 8:00 P.M. to 6:00 A.M. curfew under the threat of heavy fines, Macron has a long list of “contacts” who are now deemed to be at risk of infection.

While some mainstream media are touting the image of a “responsible” president making sure to stay away from public gatherings, identify his so-called “contact cases,” and use the unpopular “TousAntiCovid” contact tracing app, social media and an increasing number of public figures have reacted with anger, as Macron has clearly not obeyed the stringent rules he personally presented to the French before the very partial deconfinement that took place here on December 15, when the lockdown was replaced by the nationwide curfew (with the exception of Christmas Eve, thank God).

Presidency officials have assured that Macron will “continue to work and maintain his activities remotely.” Having had personal experience with the fatigue related to COVID-19, I might add that this seems overly optimistic.

How will he be cared for? Ordinary citizens are officially expected to stay at home without any treatment beyond paracetamol to bring down the fever, and to wait until they have respiratory problems before going to hospital emergency departments. Many on social media have suggested that Macron receive the same non-treatment.

The truth is that he will have the benefit of being cared for by the military doctor who is permanently at his service. Will Macron receive the treatment prescribed by Prof. Didier Raoult of Marseille, who from the start recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine with an antibiotic that has proved efficient against COVID, azithromycine, with zinc, if given on inception of symptoms? French health authorities have banned the use of hydroxychloroquine and do not recommend the antibiotic, but many doctors say they have personally used Raoult’s protocol for themselves and the French army acquired 50,000 doses of HCQ when the pandemic started.

Macron knows Raoult, and his 67-year-old wife, Brigitte Macron, has acknowledged that the presidential couple was introduced to the professor at the start of the COVID-19 by a female friend who received his treatment.

Gabriel Attal, spokesman for the government, told the French national news agency AFP that Macron “is thought to have been contaminated at the European Summit in Brussels last Thursday and Friday,” where he spent “20 hours non-stop,” including a night-long round of negotiations with leaders of the 27 members of the European Union: a perfect, multi-national occasion for spreading SARS-COV-2.

It is in fact a clear case of “do what I say, not what I do” in more ways than one.

Of the many VIPs present at the Brussels meeting, five European leaders have decided to self-quarantine out of “precaution”: the prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel; the head of the Belgian executive, Alexander De Croo; the president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez; and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel. Michel would go on to meet Macron again on Monday.

According to the mainstream magazine Le Point, many of the compulsory “barrier gestures” were “forgotten” during the meeting, and Macron especially was all over the place, joining small meetings and organizing informal head-to-head talks. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, was among those who conversed with Macron. And if Macron caught COVID there, at least one other of the participants must have had the virus for it to spread. Who’s next?

Angel Gurria, secretary general of the OECD, is another possible “victim” of Emmanuel Macron, having approached him during the ceremony marking that organization’s 60th anniversary last Monday.

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Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission’s president, was not so impressed. Even though she dined with Macron last Sunday, she decided not to self-isolate.

A European source explained that Mrs. von der Leyen had tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday, and that anyway, according to officials from the Elysée, France’s presidential palace, Emmanuel Macron can only have started to become contagious on Monday evening or Tuesday. At a time when so many restrictions are being imposed on people all over the world and particularly in France — with children 6 years and up now being obliged to wear masks all day long in school — on the grounds that we don’t really know how long the virus incubates, when contagiousness sets in, and so on, this is really quite remarkable.

On Wednesday, Macron had a meeting with the Portuguese prime minister, Antonio Costa. Photos show the two men meeting on the steps of the Elysée wearing masks, to be sure, but embracing like brothers before going in for lunch.

Locally, Macron has also been prolific with possibly contaminating close encounters. Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that he is now in self-isolation. Political leaders who lunched with the president on Tuesday have done the same.

What has made the French particularly angry is the news that leaked this Thursday of an informal dinner at the Elysée on Wednesday evening, where at least twelve people including the president spent the evening together for political discussions until well after midnight, even though the 8:00 P.M. curfew was in effect. The dinner also took place despite the fact that government officials are repeating like a mantra the “strong recommendation” that no more than six adults should join the one dinner that can take place on Christmas Eve, when the curfew is lifted for one night.

This figure, apparently, was shaken out of a hat. The director general of the public health authority, Jérôme Salomon — who proclaims the infection rate every evening on French television, a figure that is probably wildly at odds with reality because of over-sensitive COVID-19 tests and that includes non-symptomatic cases — was questioned about Macron’s possible “imprudence” this Thursday evening. Said Salomon: “The President is extremely attentive to barrier gestures. The figure 6 that has been given is not a scientific number.

The informal dinner on Wednesday was not announced on the president’s official agenda, but it cannot have been a last-minute affair. It included Jean Castex; the head of the presidential party La République en Marche, Stanislas Guerini; and the head of its parliamentary group, Christophe Castaner, two figures of the centrist Modem party, François Bayrou and Patrick Mignola, as well as Elysée official Alexis Kohler and Macron’s two non-official political counsellors Stéphane Séjourné and Thierry Solère. Perhaps not last and certainly not least, Richard Ferrand, president of the National Assembly, was also present. He is now self-isolating as well.

Unfortunately for him, it was Ferrand who told the people of France on October 29 during an interview on the tax-funded national radio station France Inter: “If you or I or anyone else is ill tomorrow, it will be because we will not have been as careful as was necessary[.] ... Perhaps we won’t have washed our hands enough, or kept on our mask[.] ... It’s when we lift our guard that we let this virus attack us[.] ... It’s a question of acting responsibly.”

Obviously, this declaration was all over French social media this evening.

By the way, Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said this Thursday that the government “has decided to be particularly severe” regarding “wild” parties and rule infringements on New Year’s Eve, when 100,000 law enforcement officers will be tasked with seeing to it that the French comply with the curfew.

At a time when restaurants and bars have been restricted for weeks and closed since the beginning of France’s second lockdown on October 28, with little hope of reopening before January 20, if then, as officials are already announcing a so-called “third wave” of COVID-19, the news from the presidential palace has provoked outrage in all sectors of French politics. The damage to this country’s economy will take several generations to be repaired. Theaters and cultural venues and all those who work there are at risk of closing, France’s tourist and catering industries are on their knees, ordinary people have been bereft of healthy social interaction, and Macron and his clique consider themselves above the rules, many are now saying.

Just for the record, Gabriel Attal, the spokesman of the French government quoted earlier, is the “partner” of Stéphane Séjourné, who was present at Macron’s informal dinner on Wednesday. The two men are often at the Elysée together, since Séjourné was promoted to counsellor of Macron at the end of last month.

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  coronavirus, curfew, emmanuel macron, freedom of association, lockdown, paris, police state

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