From the end of January, Macron resisted warnings from scientific and medical advisers who said another strict lockdown was essential to curb the rise in coronavirus infections, due to the rapid spread of more contagious and dangerous variants of the virus. The government finally locked down nearly a third of the country a week ago and added three more areas from Friday.
“I can tell you that I do not have MEA culpa to do, no remorse and no sense of failure, ”Macron said at a press conference Thursday evening after an EU summit via video conference that focused on the bloc’s struggling vaccination campaigns .
“All is well, Madame Marquis”, ironically retorted Eric Ciotti, member of the National Assembly of the opposition party Les Républicains, on Twitter, citing a popular humorous song about an aristocrat deceived by her butler on the phone about disasters. in his country. at his castle. “Nearly 100,000 deaths, France 21st out of 27 in Europe for complete vaccinations. . . #arrogance. ”
From far right to far left, French politicians have taken to social media to mock Macron’s stance, accusing him of “arrogance” and “lies”.
“To be constantly taken for five-year-olds by incompetents and people who have completely failed since the onset of this crisis is, I think, deeply humiliating and infantilizing,” Jordan Bardella of the Right-Wing National Rally told BFMTV.
RN leader Marine Le Pen is considered Macron’s biggest challenger in next year’s presidential election, and recent opinion polls have shown him to be a few percentage points away from victory. ‘there had to be a second round between the two.
Macron argued he made his decision knowing there was a risk, but taking into account other factors such as mental health, the plight of young people whose lives have been in turmoil for over a year , the need to continue educating French. children and the economy.
“You always have to be very humble,” he said. “We don’t know everything, and there is no doubt that we make mistakes every day.”
But he added: “Should we have locked down on January 29? No. We were right not to lock France up at the end of January. The explosion of cases predicted by all models has not happened. Depending on the evolution of the epidemic, we will take all the right measures when they are needed and for me there are no taboos.
Macron and Olivier Véran, his Minister of Health, say that even countries that have imposed lockdowns – as Germany did more than three months ago – are grappling with an upsurge in cases.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week turned her course on a draconian Easter shutdown plan and apologized – not for not locking Germany down more strictly, but for the opposite. “The error is mine and mine alone,” she said. “I deeply regret it and I ask forgiveness from our fellow citizens.”
In France, more than 4,700 people are being treated in intensive care for Covid-19, the highest number to date this year and close to the peak of the second wave in November. As of Thursday alone, more than 45,000 people are believed to have tested positive for the virus.
From this weekend a total of 19 departments, including Paris, will be stranded, banning long-distance travel and keeping many shops closed. The whole country is subject to a curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Cafés, restaurants and other meeting places are closed.
But the government has boasted of having resisted calls to order general school closings despite epidemics in some establishments. “Closing schools is a last resort,” said Véran.