President Emmanuel Macron should warn France on Monday that his lockout to fight the coronavirus must last for at least several weeks, while specifying how the country will recover from the crisis.
Just after 8:00 p.m. (6:00 p.m. GMT), Macron will deliver his third prime-time televised speech to the nation on the epidemic from the Elysee Palace. In his latest, he announced the national closure to slow the spread of the virus from March 17.
This speech will come after the first indications of a temporary easing of the crisis in France and that the blockage is starting to have an effect, the epidemic starting to level off, although at a high level.
France reported a drop in the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours on Sunday, with 315 hospital deaths in the past day, compared to 345 the previous day.
His total toll from the coronavirus epidemic, including those who have died in retirement homes, now stands at 14,393, the health ministry said.
And for the fourth consecutive day in a row, the number of intensive care patients decreased with 35 fewer patients, making a total of 6,845 people in need of such treatment.
But officials have warned that the situation remains serious – particularly in the Ile-de-France region around Paris – with no rapid return to normal.
– Locking possible? –
Macron will seek to maintain a cautious line between warning France that an early easing of the lockdown could be disastrous, while reassuring people that the government has a plan to bring the country back to normal.
The isolation confined the French to their homes for nearly a month, with only brief outside trips allowed for shopping and other essential errands.
Sources said Macron would announce that the lockdown should be extended beyond its current expiration date of April 15 until the end of May.
The Sunday Journal reported that the restrictions could continue until the end of May, with schools only reopening with the new school year in September.
A source close to Macron told AFP that he should speak in terms of the date in May for the end of the lockout, but after the holiday weekend from May 8-10.
The date should be “far enough away for everyone to understand the effort that remains to be made, but close enough to sketch the rest of France.”
It should not make decisions on specific matters, such as whether the wearing of masks in public should be generalized, or on tracing and testing.
The source added that to date, no decision has been made to close the schools before September.