FRance is in a “race against time” against Covid-19, Emmanuel Macron stated on a television broadcast this week. In an attempt to curb the growing number of Covid cases in France, Macron has imposed a national blockade, which extends to the entire country measures that were already in force in 19 departments. Although Macron insisted that France had not lost control, he admitted that “we cannot deny it either.”
The president may no longer deny it, but the situation in some parts of France appears to be far out of control. Daily Covid Cases have reached 59,000 compared to 4,000 from the UKand hospitals are struggling under pressure; Some clinicians worry that they will soon have to begin prioritizing those who will have the best chance of successful treatment.
The question of the capacity of intensive care beds has been a thorn in Macron’s side for the past year. In March 2020, the health minister promised to increase the number of beds up to 14,000. A year later, doctors and nurses accuse the government of having largely breached its commitment. Most of these beds never materialized, and the hospitals of France seem incapable of face the challenges of the pandemic.
Macron’s admission of the scale and severity of the Covid crisis in France signals a notable change in attitude. When interviewed in Greece on March 24, he acknowledged that Europe had “lacked ambition”In his vaccination program, but reiterated that he saw no reason to commit France to a new national blockade. Many have criticized Macron’s opaque decision-making on Covid-19, contrasting his “Jupiter” leadership style with the approach of Angela Merkel, a chancellor who has admitted her political mistakes and consulted with regional leaders.
Macron has decided not to carry out a total lockdown, opting instead for “softer” measures that are expected to remain in effect for at least four weeks, including a travel ban between regions and the closure of non-essential businesses. The country’s curfew from 7 pm to 6 am remains in effect. People can still go shopping or exercise, as long as they stay within a 10 km perimeter of their homes. They no longer have to download an exceptional travel certificate, before the bureaucratic way of monitoring the whereabouts of the population, after critics argued this self-certified system conferred arbitrary powers on the police.
As the public health of the country The situation deteriorates, some of Macron’s stubborn pronouncements come back to haunt him. Last month, the president said a new lock was not adapted to the situation in France and ignored the scientists and doctors who had warned that stricter measures would be needed to prevent a “third wave”. Epidemiologists now think that Covid cases in France have been increasing exponentially for at least a month.
The description of Macron as a tireless leader who has drawn on the science on Covid-19 and has become an expert on the subject, has not helped. His education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, said that Macron had “gained real experience” in epidemiology, while Richard Ferrand, the president of the national assembly, declared that he “could easily write a doctoral thesis.” in Covid-19”.
In fact, this level of adulation has made people less likely to trust Macron’s strategy, and he has been ridiculed on Twitter as a possible superman – an all-knowing and all-powerful statesman who works wonders. As the French Covid montage cases show, this picture couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even acknowledging the rapid rise in Covid cases in his televised ad on Wednesday, Macron did not apologize Merkel style. He said the decision to delay a new shutdown meant that the French had “gained precious weeks of freedom, weeks of learning for their children” and allowed “hundreds of thousands of workers to keep their heads above water, without losing control of the epidemic “. ”.
It was a strange and contentious point, and it seemed to imply that the government’s priority was not to protect public health, but to reopen the economy, no matter what. Surprisingly, the government has not insisted that people working from home where possible. It is estimated that 36% of employees who could work from home continue to travel to unsafe workplaces. Meanwhile, the schools of France mass closed After large numbers of teachers and students contracted the virus, Blanquer, the Education Minister, provoked the ire of teachers when he declared the virus. barely circulates at all in the classrooms.
Rather than fight the virus, the French president has so far given the impression that it is better to live with it peacefully. He seems to believe that his words, guarantees, and apparent dominance of science, should be enough to tame public opinion. This can be a serious miscalculation.
A year before the next presidential election, Macron is concerned about the volatility of French public opinion. He fears that voters will turn to Marine Le Pen and the far right in great numbers. However, his mismanagement of the pandemic and misplaced ego may be playing into Le Pen’s hands.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism