The prime minister of France Jean Castex tested positive for COVID-19 after he, without a mask, was shaking hands with elected officials in an enclosed space at a Paris mayoral congress on November 16, according to multiple videos.
The 52-year-old head of the French government on Monday tested for the coronavirus. PM Castex caused a stir on social media, the angry users are pointing out that maskless PM goes against the official line that everyone should continue taking preventative measures.
Defending the top official, the French government’s spokesman noted “We are all only human”. But the PM’s positive test is a potential embarrassment for the Republic’s government and President Macron ahead of April’s presidential election.
Commenting on the Castex’s infection, his office says he was infected by his 11-year-old daughter and is self-isolating for 10 days. It’s unclear if Castex, who was double vaccinated in the spring, has symptoms.
Meantime, the medical experts are insisting that Castex’s behaviour is a bright example on what not to do during the epidemic. Although the vaccination is popular in France, the barrier measures are being less respected over months. For instance, face mask sales have fallen in France by three quarters in the year up to August 2021.
But for the moment French media are concentrating their ire on Castex, pointing out that this is the fourth time that Castex has been a “contact case” for the pathogen, though he has never previously tested positive.
As a result of his positive test, several French ministers are self-isolating awaiting test results, including Europe Minister Clement Beaune. Beaune also received criticism for deleting a photo on Instagram of him laughing and leaning in to Castex without wearing a PPP, Associated Press reported.