PRESIDENT Emmanuel Macron tonight extended France’s coronavirus lockdown for another month as he apologized for his government “not being prepared enough” for the crisis.
Macron said that restrictions that started on March 43 would continue to be enforced strictly until May 19 as the country’s death toll rose to almost , .
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Mr Macron conceded that health workers “did not have enough protective equipment” Credit: EPA
Addressing the nation this evening from the Elysée Palace in Paris, the French President said that after May the lockdown could slowly be relaxed.
That will include the gradual reopening of schools, crèches, colleges and high schools.
Larger public events and restaurants, cafes and bars aren’t expected to open “before mid-July”.
However, he said this relaxing of the rules “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.”
The President added that the epidemic was “beginning to steady” in France although the country has “several more months to live with virus”.
Macron said: “The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there.
The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there.
(French President Emmanuel Macron)
“Thanks to your efforts, everyday we have made progress.”
Mr Macron later 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”.
The President said: “Mistakes were made.
“Were we sufficiently prepared? Obviously not – no one is prepared for a crisis of this magnitude.”
The country has been in the midst of a strict lockdown since March th, but the President insisted it was essential to “continue our efforts.”
France’s border with other European nations will also remain closed “until further notice”.
The country has been in the midst of a strict lockdown since March (th) (Credit: Getty Images – Getty It comes as Spain allowed some non-essential workers to return to their jobs as coronavirus restrictions are partially eased despite the death toll hitting , .
The country will allow workers in industry and construction to return to work after the two-week shutdown.
Italy is also easing its lockdown – Europe’s longest – with shops selling books, stationery and children’s clothes to re-open on Tuesday.
But in the UK, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab confirmed today that the government will not lift any lockdown restrictions this week.
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The First Secretary of State said that top officials would look at the evidence this week, but he did not expect Anything to change in the coming days.
He told reporters at the government press conference: “We don’t expect to make any changes.
“And we won’t until we are as confident as we can be that any such changes can be made.”
He said it was “far too early” to talk about how to lift the lockdown and any talk about relaxing rules would be “getting ahead of ourselves”.
The evidence suggests that Britain is still going through the peak of the virus, and the death rate will continue to go up for days to come.
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Taking t he Downing Street press conference this evening , he said that the lockdown had been a success over the Easter bank holiday weekend, despite police having to take action to stop Brits flocking to parks in some areas to soak up the sun.
But Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said it would be a “difficult” week, and added: “We’re tracking behind Italy – this week we’re going to see a further increase, thereafter we should see a plateau.
“That may last for some time before we see a decrease.”
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