France has extended its coronavirus lockdown for a further four weeks until 11 May, Emmanuel Macron has announced, APA reports citing The Independent.
In his third televised address about the coronavirus pandemic, the president admitted that France had not been prepared for the crisis and that there had been “failings and insufficiencies” in healthcare systems and elderly care facilities.
There have been more than 135,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France, resulting in 14,967 deaths. Only the US, Spain and Italy have had more confirmed cases of the deadly virus.
Mr Macron praised paramedics, nurses and other frontline workers, as well as “all of the French men and women who have answered the call” to confront the outbreak. On Sunday, the country’s public health authority revealed that the number of patients in intensive care being treated for the virus had fallen for the fourth consecutive day.
The figures suggest that the containment measures are helping to ease the crisis but the situation in the country remains critical.
“There is hope but nothing is for certain in this battle,” Mr Macron said in his address. “We need to put in all of our effort to stem the spread of the virus.”
He added that lockdown measures would be lifted gradually. On 11 May schools and some workplaces would reopen but social gatherings and leisure activities will remain banned until at least mid-July.
France has been on lockdown since 17 March and Mr Macron’s announcement marks the second time the initial 15-day period has been extended.