PARIS – Monaco’s Prince Albert II has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, but his condition is not a cause for concern and he is working uninterruptedly, the Monegasque palace said in a statement on Thursday.
He has become the first head of state known to have contracted COVID-19.
The 62-year-old sovereign prince, the son of the late Grace, Princess of Monaco (formerly Grace Kelly, the American actress) and member of the International Olympic Committee, is being closely monitored by his personal physician and specialists from the Princess Grace Hospital Center, the statement read.
The Monegasque palace said Albert II “continues to work from his private apartment and is in close contact with the members of his Cabinet, government and closest collaborators.”
The prince called on Monaco’s population to heed containment measures that include a ban on group gatherings within the principality and restrictions on mobility with certain exceptions.
He added that strict compliance with these measures is necessary to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The principality has thus far had a total of 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including the monarch, government sources told Efe. It has not yet reported any fatalities.
Those other cases include Monaco’s minister of state, Serge Telle; he also is under quarantine at his home, but his case likewise is not considered a cause for concern.
To avoid spreading the disease, the government earlier this week implemented a measure that restricts people’s mobility for reasons other than work, healthcare and food shopping between Wednesday and March 31. Some exceptions are allowed for family or sporting reasons.
Like in other countries, local authorities also have recommended that people practice strict hygiene, including washing their hands frequently, observing social distance of at least 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) and avoiding group gatherings.
To reduce the economic impact of this health crisis on the principality, the Monegasque government on Monday also announced a 50-million-euro ($53.3-million) economic package to relieve the cash-flow problems of struggling businesses and prevent bankruptcies.
Monaco borders France and is located about 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from France’s border with Italy, the country with the most reported coronavirus deaths (3,405) and the second-most confirmed cases (41,035).