Written by By Staff Writer, Soléa Ladanyi, CNN
After a positive test for the Strain M, or durucovirus, a type of virus causing respiratory illnesses, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has been placed in isolation for 48 hours, France’s health minister announced Saturday.
An official in the prime minister’s office confirmed to CNN Saturday that Philippe has been given the alert.
“He has been given a preventive and precautionary measure from this new strain of the Durucovirus (diarrhoea and cold symptoms), but it has to be said that the risk (of infection) is very low and there is no need to panic,” Jean-Baptiste Mattei, the head of the Ministry of Health’s infection prevention and control unit, told CNN France 24.
“The only possibility of becoming ill is if you have been in contact with someone who has. The risk is very low,” he added.
In a statement Saturday, the health minister said that after a positive test in the mid-late stages of a cold, Philippe had received a medical diagnosis that “had … a close relation to the Durucovirus strain,” which he contracted in Europe.
“Exposure to the virus does not necessarily cause illness, but acute reactions can take place, for example fever and difficulty in breathing,” the statement said.
It went on to say that the infected prime minister had been closely monitored by health officials “since the onset of symptoms, which lasted from Monday until Wednesday.”
The statement confirmed that the Strain M strain of infection had been confirmed in Philippe, but it did not give further details about the exact location of his admission.
Philippe, who took office in June, is the only French prime minister in nearly 30 years to be infected by a Strain M strain of flu.
On his social network accounts, Philippe has been posting pictures of the country’s summer festivities over the last few days.
Earlier this week, Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel was put in isolation for 20 days, after being diagnosed with a variant strain of the virus known as S312. Michel’s resignation was announced shortly afterwards, and his interior minister Joseph Deiss became interim prime minister.