Prince Albert of Monaco has tested positive for coronavirus, the royal palace said today.
Authorities in the tiny state said the 62-year-old ruler had been tested for the pathogen at the start of this week.
His diagnosis makes him the first known head of state to be infected with the virus. The Mediterranean enclave had confirmed nine cases of the virus in its latest update yesterday. The first was recorded on February 28.
It comes just nine days after he was pictured sitting opposite Prince Charles at a WaterAid charity event in London.
The palace said Albert’s health ‘does not inspire any concern’, saying he was continuing to work from his private apartments.
However, he is being monitored by his personal doctor and by specialists at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, which is named after his mother Grace Kelly.
Albert has also urged the 39,000 inhabitants of Monaco to observe quarantine rules to stop the spread of the virus, a statement said.
Like in neighbouring France, schools and nurseries in Monaco have been shut down and non-essential businesses ordered to close.
Restaurants, casinos, cafes, concert halls, cinemas and nightclubs have all had to close their doors, although food stores, pharmacies and banks are still open.
The statement today also added that Prince Albert is in constant contact with members of his cabinet, the government and his closest staff.
The Mediterranean enclave had confirmed nine cases of the virus in its latest update yesterday. The first was recorded on February 28.
The Monaco Grand Prix has been called along with several other events on the Formula One calendar because of virus fears.
It is unclear whether Albert’s wife, Princess Charlene, has been tested for the virus.
The 42-year-old former South African Olympic swimmer, formerly known as Charlene Wittstock, married Albert in 2011. She had twins in 2014.
Albert, born in 1958, is the second child of Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco. He has two older children from earlier relationships.
He became a five-time Olympic bobsledder for Monaco, and in recent years has been a global environmental campaigner.
Albert graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts with a degree in political science in 1981, and is a member of the International Olympic Committee.
He inherited the throne when his father Rainier died in 2005. His mother Grace died after a car accident in 1982.
The princely palace has promised to provide regular updates on Albert’s condition.
Neighbouring France has imposed some of Europe’s toughest lockdown measures, ordering people to stay at home unless necessary.
However, some people have still been strolling in parks and ignoring the 3ft safety distance to avoid close contact.
‘There are people who think they are modern-day heroes by breaking the rules while they are in fact idiots,’ interior minister Christophe Castaner told French radio.
Some officials have called for even stricter limits and Paris police are considering closing riverside walkways – a move already enforced in Bordeaux.
French politician and EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier became another high-profile virus patient today.
Mr Barnier said he was ‘doing well and in good spirits’ and announced he was ‘following the necessary instructions’ along with his staff.
Other high-profile patients include Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau; and Begona Gomez, the wife of Spanish leader Pedro Sanchez.
SOURCE: Daily Mail, Tim Stickings