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.
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’
‘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.
This graph shows the number of coronavirus cases which were added to the French government’s official tally each day. There were 1,613 new cases yesterday
This chart shows the daily number of deaths. The figures have appeared to jump around in recent days since France began including partial data from care homes
France yesterday reported 310 new deaths in hospital over the previous 24 hours, compared with 345 the previous day.
Its total toll from the coronavirus epidemic, including those who have died in nursing homes, now stands at 14,393, the health ministry said.
And for the fourth consecutive day in a row, the number of patients in intensive care fell with 35 fewer patients, making a total of 6,845 people needing such treatment.
The total number of cases rose by only 1,613 between Saturday’s figures and the latest update on Sunday, bringing the total from 93,790 to 95,403.
But officials have warned that the situation remains serious – especially in the Ile-de-France region around Paris – with no rapid return to normal in sight.
Pictured: Parisians applauded on their balcony to support medical workers yesterday
France on Sunday reported a lower number of COVID-19 fatalities over the last 24 hours, with 315 deaths in hospital over the last day, compared with 345 the previous day
The lockdown has confined the French to their homes for almost a month, with only brief trips allowed outside for shopping and other essential errands.
Macron did not issue rulings on specific questions, such as whether the wearing of masks in public should become generalised, or on tracing and testing.