French President Emmanuel Macron admitted that his government has made “mistakes” in handling the coronavirus pandemic in a television address to the nation, in which he also announced that the lockdown that has been in effect in the country since March 17 will be extended until May 11.
“Mistakes were made,” Macron said in a national address broadcast from the Elysée Palace in Paris. “Were we sufficiently prepared? Obviously not, no one is prepared for a crisis of this magnitude.”
He also admitted that there had been a lack of face masks and antibacterial gel, while medical workers “did not have enough protective equipment.”
Macron did not, however, mention the fact that it took French authorities a month and a half from the first confirmed case to instate the first restrictive measures.
Macron went on to plead French citizens to respect the measures in place.
‘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,” he said. “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.”
He added that though the end date of the lockdown was not certain, and may be subject to review, from the final day of the nation-wide quarantine, authorities will gradually start to reopen nurseries, schools and universities but that classes won’t “physically resume until the summer.”
Like most leaders, Macron has received a boost in approval since the crisis began. Still, only 40 percent of those surveyed approve of the French president, his highest rating in two years.
There are a total of 136,799 confirmed coronavirus cases and 14,967 deaths in France. The country is currently the fourth worst-hit in the world behind the United States, Spain and Italy.
Title image: French President Emmanuel Macron’s national television address on April 13. (source: Emmanuel Macron’s Facebook page)