In a national address Monday evening, he said that only by respecting the rules of containment will the battle against Covid-19 be won.
Macron said France would start to resume normal life on May 11, if citizens were “civic, responsible and obeyed the rules” – and if the number of virus cases continued to drop.
“We must continue our efforts; the more the rules are followed, the more lives will be saved. This is why I am announcing that the strict lockdown will continue until Monday, May 11. “
He said, “I appreciate the effort I ask of you,” adding, “There is new hope but nothing is won yet … the epidemic is not under control. “
It was Macron’s fourth television address since the start of the coronavirus crisis and expectations were high, not only that he would make concrete announcements, but that he would give some direction and reassure.
Hospital admissions and mortality rates appear to have stabilized – although, as Jérôme Salomon, the head of the French health authority has repeated, remain at a “high level” – and the French have wanted to know if and when the four week lock restrictions could be relaxed.
In a 30-minute speech marked by a tone of humility, Macron gave an explanation, an answer and a timetable for the coming weeks.
He admitted on several occasions that there had been failures in the fight against the pandemic, in particular due to the lack of masks and equipment, but promised that by May 11, there would be enough tests for “the elderly, health workers and the most vulnerable” and masks for all people.
“Were we ready?” No, clearly not enough. There were shortcomings, there was a lack of equipment, “he said.
Macron added that the next four weeks would be used to obtain more tests, masks and equipment and organize financial aid not only for businesses but also for families in precarious situations.
“These are difficult days and we now feel scared and anxious for our parents and ourselves,” said Macron.
From May 11, nurseries, schools, colleges and high schools will be “gradually opened” as a priority, he said.
“Many children are out of school and there is inequality in that there are those who do not have access to the Internet and cannot be helped by their parents.”
As schools open from May 11, Macrons said restaurants, cafes, hotels, museums and cultural sites must remain closed and major festivals and events cannot be allowed until after mid-July.
Macron spoke of the solidarity of the European Union and the need to support African countries, including the possibility of canceling their debt.
He said that France’s borders with third countries would remain closed. This should not include the UK, as Britain is still in the Brexit transition period.
He concluded, “We have to reinvent ourselves, and me first,” he added. “We are vulnerable. When can we expect to end it? I understand that you have many questions and I would like to answer all of them. But I say in all humility, we have no definitive answers today.
“We will share with you what we know and what we do not know, we will come out of it, but we still have several months to live with this virus.
“We will have better days, we will find happy days. And the virtues that will allow us to get through are the same that will help us build our future: solidarity, trust, will. Take care of yourself and each other and we will make it happen. “