What can we expect from Macron’s TV speech about lockdown in France?

What can we expect from Macron's TV speech about lockdown in France?
French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV address on Monday. Photo: AFP
French president Emmanuel Macron will on Monday night address the nation on the subject of France's lockdown, while also outlining how the country will recover from the crisis.

This will be the president's fourth live TV address since the coronavirus epidemic began and the Elysées Palace has already said that he will be announcing that the lockdown will be extended past its current end date of April 15th.

But what else can we expect?

This speech will come after the first indications of a tentative easing of the crisis in France and that the lockdown is starting to have an effect, with the epidemic starting to plateau, albeit at a high level.

France on Sunday reported a lower number of COVID-19 fatalities over the last 24 hours, with 315 deaths in hospital over the last day, compared with 345 the previous day.

Its total toll from the coronavirus epidemic, including those who have died in nursing homes, now stands at 14,393, the health ministry said.

And for the fourth consecutive day in a row, the number of patients in intensive care fell with 35 fewer patients, making a total of 6,845 people needing such treatment.

READ ALSO France's coronavirus death toll falls slightly for second day

The situation in France, while still extremely serious, looks to be easing slightly. Photo: AFP

But officials have warned that the situation remains serious – especially in the greater Paris Ile-de-France region – with no rapid return to normal in sight.

Macron will be looking to steer a careful line between warning France that an early relaxation of the lockdown could be disastrous, while reassuring people that the government has a plan to get the country back to normal.

The lockdown has confined the French to their homes for almost a month, with only brief trips allowed outside for shopping and other essential errands.

Like several other political leaders in Europe, Macron is facing pressure from right wingers demanding that he reopen businesses to safeguard the economy.

Sources said Macron would announce that the lockdown must be extended beyond its current April 15th expiration date until well into May.

The Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported that the restrictions could continue until the end of May, with schools only reopening with the new academic year in September.

A source close to Macron told AFP that he should speak in terms of a date during May for the end of the lockdown, but after the May 8th-10th holiday weekend.

The date should be “long enough away so everyone understands the effort that still needs to be made but sufficiently close to sketch out how France will look afterwards”.

He is not expected to issue rulings on specific questions, such as whether the wearing of masks in public should become generalised, or on tracing and testing.

The source added that so far there had been no decision on keeping schools closed until September.

A working group has been established to took at how France will east its lockdown, with suggestions including lifting restrictions on a regional basis, as well as by age or by employment type.

Although cases have been reported in all parts of France, some regions have been much worse affected than others.

MAP: Where in France has the fewest cases of coronavirus?

The Scientific Council set up to advise the government has laid out three conditions that need to be met before the government can even begin to ease restrictions; significantly reduced pressure on hospitals, a fall in the number of new cases and a full post-lockdown strategy is in place.

READ ALSO When and how will France's coronavirus lockdown end?

The Local will be reporting the president's speech live here from 8pm on Monday.

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