Monday 13 April 2020

French president Macron extends lockdown for a MONTH until May 11 but promises 'joyous days are ahead' - as he apologises for 'not being prepared enough' for coronavirus battle

The head of state said that restrictions that started on March 17 would be enforced as strictly as possible until the middle of next month, and that 'joyous days were ahead'
French President Emmanuel Macron tonight apologised for his government 'not being prepared enough' for the coronavirus crisis as he extended lockdown until May 11. 

The head of state said that restrictions that started on March 17 would be enforced as strictly as possible until the middle of next month and that 'joyous days were ahead'.

In a prime time TV address to the nation from the Elysée Palace in Paris, Mr Macron said: 'We must, therefore, continue our efforts and continue to apply the rules.

'The more they are respected, the more lives will be saved. This is why the strictest confinement must still continue until Monday, May 11.

'This is the only way to act effectively during this period. This is the condition for slowing the spread of the virus even further, succeeding in finding places available in intensive care and allowing our caregivers to rebuild their strength.'

Mr Macron conceded that there had been problems with everything from the supply of masks to protective gel, and that health workers ''did not have enough protective equipment.''

'Mistakes were made,' he said. 

'Were we sufficiently prepared? Obviously not – no one is prepared for a crisis of this magnitude.'

Mr Macron said medics would be in a position to test anyone with symptoms by May 11.

'On May 11, we will be able to test all people with symptoms,' said Mr Macron.

Warning that the new date might not mean a guaranteed stand down from the measures, Mr Macron said: 'May 11 will only be possible if we continue to be responsible civic respecting the rules and that the spread of the virus has actually continued to slow.'

Referring to closed educational establishments, Mr Macron said: 'From May 11 we will gradually reopen crèches, schools, colleges and high schools. Classes will not resume physically until the summer.

'The government, in consultation with the government, will have set up special rules to organise time differently, to protect our teachers and our children with the equipment used for students in higher education.'

Mr Macron said borders with other countries would remain shut until the crisis was resolved.  

Yesterday's death toll of 561 marked a third successive day of decline, although France's figures have been highly erratic, with data from nursing homes only partially included.  

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