(Natural News) Prince Albert II, sovereign of the city-state of Monaco, has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the first known reigning royal to contract the virus. But his office stated that this health is “not a cause for concern.”
Prince Albert is the first known royal in the world to have contracted the coronavirus. Monaco lies in southeastern France, close to the French border with Italy.
“Prince Albert is continuing to work from the office in his private apartments,” Prince Albert’s office said in a statement. “Albert is being treated by his GP and specialist at the Princess Grace Hospital.” The Princess Grace Hospital Center is named after the Prince’s late mother, and is Monaco’s only public hospital and one of only four hospitals in the city-state.
The Prince’s office further stated that Albert is in constant contact with his closest staff, as well as the members of his cabinet and the rest of his government.
Prince Albert, 62, is the son of the late Prince Rainier III and American actress Princess-consort Grace Kelly. He is also the head of the House of Grimaldi, a nearly a millennium-old royal house that has governed Monaco since the middle ages.
Prince Albert assumed the throne in 2005, is married to a South African former Olympic athlete and is father to twins, a boy and a girl, along with two other children born out of wedlock.
The Prince’s office has stated that he is still in good health and continues to do his duties as sovereign and head of state of Monaco from his home.
Many of Prince Albert’s tasks involve actual governance, setting him apart from the other largely ceremonial European monarchs. The Prince exercises his executive power through his Minister of State, who is nominated by France and appointed by and represents the Prince. He also has a Council of Government, headed by the Minister of State, which debates policies and bills proposed by the Prince.
While Prince Albert is the first known reigning royal to contract the coronavirus, he isn’t the first person of royal heritage to get infected. That distinction belongs to Karl von Habsburg, 59, who was diagnosed on Tuesday. He is the head of the Austrian royal house of Habsburg-Lorraine, and is the grandson of Austria’s last reigning emperor, Charles I, who abdicated the throne following the conclusion of World War I.
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 19, 2020
Monaco has responded strongly to the coronavirus
As of press time, the small city-state of Monaco has nine confirmed cases of COVID-19, excluding the Prince himself. The country had their first case on February 29, a man who was initially confined in the Princess Grace Hospital, but was then transferred to France for better treatment. Since then, the small country has mobilized quickly in an attempt to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
On Saturday, Prince Albert and his government decided to close, until further notice, all schools, universities, nurseries, gyms, parks and other monuments in the country. The measure, according to the government, aims to “protect children and reduce the spread of the virus across the territory.”
According to epidemiologists in Monaco who are advising the Prince’s government, they believe that young people are more likely to spread the virus quickly, even if they have no symptoms, and are thankfully less likely to suffer from the acute forms of the disease. Government ministers are currently collaborating with educational institutions to make sure that the children can still be taught through online platforms.
On the same day, Monegasque authorities announced that they will set up daycare services for the children of police, healthcare workers and other people whose work is “essential in the fight against the epidemic or the functioning of the State and organizations of vital importance.” Other parents are being directed to their children’s schools to see how they can be looked after while they are at work.
Minister of State Serge Telle, a French diplomat who was appointed by the Prince, also announced that the country was banning public gatherings of more than 100 people, and that this limit might be reduced to 50 for bars and restaurants.
Sporting events, such as tennis, basketball and soccer leagues have also been canceled.
On the same day, the government announced that Telle tested positive for COVID-19. The government statement on the matter said that the minister is “not very symptomatic” and that his current condition isn’t a matter of concern. The minister is currently working from home, where he is quarantined.
On Tuesday, these measures went a few steps further, as Prince Albert announced in a televised address a series of new reforms the principality would enact to prevent the coronavirus from spreading. This includes putting the country in lockdown, with travel only being allowed for essential purposes, such as for health concerns and grocery shopping. All public events and group activities conducted by Monegasques both inside and outside the country’s borders are banned, and all the country’s construction projects have been halted until further notice. (Related: EU proposes closing ALL borders, effectively placing mainland Europe under lockdown.)
Businesses have been advised to offer their employees flexible work arrangements, such as being allowed to work from home. The government will be working with the country’s private sector to try and minimize the economic impact of the pandemic.
On the same day that Prince Albert was announced positive for COVID-19, the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix, perhaps the most prestigious Formula One racing event in the world, was canceled. Initially, Formula One announced that their race, scheduled for May 24, was postponed, but due to uncertainty about the participation of the racing teams, and the lockdown situation in both France and Italy, they were compelled to call off the popular historic race.
At the end of Prince Albert’s televised address on Tuesday, he stated that “the way out of this health crisis will depend on your ability to comply with the measures applied.”
— Monaco Tribune in English (@MonacoTribuneEN) March 19, 2020