French Prime Minister Castex tests positive for coronavirus -PM's office

FILE PHOTO: French Prime Minister Jean Castex takes part in a ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of the November 13, 2015 attacks, in which 130 people were killed, outside Le Carillon bar, in Paris, France November 13, 2021. Thomas Samson/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Jean Castex has tested positive for the coronavirus and is isolating himself, the prime minister's office said on Monday.

Castex, who is fully vaccinated against the virus, learned his daughter had tested positive after he returned from Belgium, where he met his Belgian counterpart Alexander De Croo. Castex then tested positive himself.

The French prime minister will continue to work and will remain in isolation for 10 days, his office added in a statement.

Castex's positive test coincides with several European countries tightening restrictions to slow down infections and the number of people being hospitalized with COVID-19. Austria on Monday re-imposed a nationwide lockdown.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France doesn't need to follow such measures because its stringent health pass rules have helped keep the virus in check, but he wants to accelerate the delivery of vaccine booster shots.

Last week, France's health regulator recommended booster shots for over 40s. Currently it is available to over 65s.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau and Richard Lough; Writing by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Chris Reese and Grant McCool)

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