French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday blamed his COVID-19 on a combination of negligence and bad luck, urging his compatriots to stay safe as critics called out slip-ups in his behavior, from a close-quarters handshake to repeated big-group meals over the past week. In what looked like a self-shot video from the presidential retreat in Versailles, where he was isolating with symptoms that included headaches, fatigue, and a dry cough, Macron promised to give daily updates and be "totally transparent" about the evolution of his illness. "I am doing well," he said. The 42-year-old French leader said his infection "shows that the virus really can touch everyone, because I am very protected and am very careful." He added, per the AP: "Despite everything, I caught this virus—perhaps, doubtless, a moment of negligence, a moment of bad luck, too."
In France, Macron is facing criticism. While he usually wears a mask and adheres to social distancing, the president has been captured on camera in recent days violating virus-control guidelines. He shook hands and half-embraced the head of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on Monday. Both were masked, but Macron's office acknowledged Friday the move was a "mistake." Last week, Macron spent two days in negotiations at the EU summit in Brussels with the leaders of the other 26 member countries. Video released by the EU showed the leaders spread out in a circle in a huge meeting room—Macron, and most of the other leaders, weren't masked. Macron also hosted or took part in large-group meals in the days before testing positive Thursday. French people, meanwhile, are advised to avoid gatherings larger than six people.
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