French President Emmanuel Macron has extended the countrywide lockdown to May 11.
“Were we prepared for this crisis? Well, I think we have to say that no, we weren’t,” Macron said in a video address — recorded in French — on Monday.
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Due to the challenges facing the country because of the pandemic, Macron explains that he and his government have noticed the shortcomings and insufficiencies in their systems.
“We didn’t have enough operating gowns. We didn’t have enough antiseptic gel, we didn’t have enough masks for our medical staff, for those people looking after the elderly, for those people providing home assistance,” the president states.
However, he also listed successes, including doubling the number of beds in intensive care units.
France originally entered a 15-day lockdown on March 16.
Now, Macron plans to extend the lockdown to May 11 and urges residents and citizens that the only way the country can have an impact on the virus is to respect and follow the lockdown laws and regulations.
“This is a way of stemming the spread,” Macron states.
“I take the full measure of the effort I am asking of you. In the four weeks that lie ahead of us, the rules outlined by the government will continue to be enforced.”
The president continues that while the policies will not be weakened or strengthened, they will continue to be maintained and enforced as they were before.
He describes May 11 as a “day that will mark a new era,” explaining that, starting that day, daycare centres and schools will be reopened.
However, more vulnerable populations, primarily the elderly, will “at least initially” be required to remain confined.
May 11 will also mark the day where French citizens can go back to work in major industries.
But concert halls, theatres, cinemas, restaurants, bars and other venues that have the capacity for large crowds will remain closed.
As well, major festivals and significant events will not be able to be held until at least mid-July.
Macron also vows that there will be enough masks and tests by May 11 to begin lifting some restrictions currently in place.
Although there is an official date where the lockdown will be lifted, Macron states that he is uncertain as to when the country will return to a full state of normalcy.
“So then what is the timeline ahead of us? When will we see the end of the tunnel when we will be able to get back to a sense of normalcy?” Macron asks.
“They are well-founded questions. And I want to be able to give you an answer for each and every one of those questions. But to be perfectly honest with you, we have no clear-cut answer.”
President Macron’s full address can be seen below:
Adresse aux Français. https://t.co/sEeWhau5Mo
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) April 13, 2020