Amid the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing was on full display at 10 Downing Street on Thursday when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared an awkward bow with Fresh President Emmanuel Macron as he welcomed him on the occasion of 80th anniversary of General de Gaulle’s war time speech.
The two global leaders demonstrated the unusual reality of international diplomacy after Macron put his palms together and offered a small bow to the British prime minister. Johnson clumsily reciprocated while waving one hand around to signal the French leader to remain at a suitable distance.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron follow social-distancing rules as they pose for photos at 10 Downing Street in London https://t.co/cbk9Nefdmo pic.twitter.com/8280cWmJ9N
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As the two leaders stood for photos to be taken by the media, Macron held up an arm sideways to ensure the distance between the two while Johnson responded with a slight thumbs up.
The overall scene in Downing Street was a sharp contrast to previous meetings between Macron and Johnson who, despite being at loggerheads over Brexit, appear to have a good personal rapport.
Britain’s social distancing rules require citizens to remain two metres apart to help limit the spread of the virus.
Macron was exempted from a 14-day quarantine period imposed by British authorities on all visitors arriving from overseas.
In August last year, during a diplomatic trip to try and break a Brexit deadlock, Johnson was pictured briefly putting his foot up on a coffee table inside the gilded Elysee palace in Paris as he laughed and joked with Macron.
Macron is visiting London to commemorate the 80th anniversary of former French president Charles de Gaulle’s appeal to French people to resist the Nazi occupation during World War II.
(With inputs from Reuters)