French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday announced he was extending a lockdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak until May 11, adding that progress had been made but the battle not yet won.
Acknowledging his country had not been sufficiently prepared early on to face the challenges posed by the outbreak of the new coronavirus, Macron said the unprecedented restrictions put in place were showing results.
The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there, Macron said in a televised address to the nation. Thanks to your efforts, every day we have made progress.
The president added: I fully understand the effort I'm asking from you. When will we be able to return to a normal life? I would love to be able to answer you. But to be frank, I have to humbly tell you we don't have definitive answers.
But our country was not sufficiently ready for this crisis. We will all draw all the consequences,” Macron added.
Macron's prime time address came as France ended a fourth week under lockdown, with residents ordered to stay at home except to buy food, go to work, seek medical care or get some exercise on their own.
After a relentless increase until the first week of April, the number of patients in French hospitals' intensive care units has started to decline, prompting health authorities to call a plateau in the deadly epidemic.
But if French hospitals are just about coping, helped by a massive effort to transfer patients by plane, helicopter or even high-speed train from hospitals in the east and Paris to the west, nursing homes have been overwhelmed.