Macron calls two emergency government meetings as Covid-19 cases rocket in France

Macron calls two emergency government meetings as Covid-19 cases rocket in France
French President Emmanuel Macron (middle) flanked by his Prime Minister Jean Castex (left) and another government representative. Photo: AFP
France's Elysée Palace announced on Monday evening that the president would host two emergency defence council meetings with ministers in the coming days ahead of a likely toughening of restrictions to battle the "brutal" second wave of coronavirus.

Macron will first meet with ministers in the defence council on Tuesday morning, the Elysée said.

Then throughout the day the French Prime Minister Jean Castex will meet with the leaders of opposition political parties and parliamentary groups, followed by a meeting with union leaders on Tuesday evening.

Macron will hold a second defence council meeting on Wednesday morning, the Elysée said.

The meetings will focus on “the tougher measures under consideration to manage the health crisis,” an official in Castex's office told AFP, on condition of anonymity.

Given that the Covid-19 infections have rocketed in France in recent days – new record was set on Sunday with 52,000 cases reported following several days of cases topping 40,000 – the government is almost certain to announce new restrictions in the coming days.

Speculation is growing that despite vowing to do everything possible to avoid a second lockdown, the president may be left with no choice given the rise in hospital patient numbers.

The government meetings follow calls from scientists and health chiefs for tougher measures than the nighttime curfews currently imposed on two thirds of the population.

Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the Scientific Council set up to advise the government on their Covid-19 policies said on Tuesday the situation was “critical”.

“We knew there would be a second wave, but we have been shocked by the brutality of what's happened in the last 10 to 15 days,” he said.

“I don't think we have a choice anymore. We must re-confine,” said Eric Caumes, Head of the Infectious Diseases Department at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris on Monday

READ ALSO: Is a second lockdown in France now inevitable?


Member comments

  1. Stop with the meetings, they don’t save lives, show some balls and impose travel restrictions now but unfortunately I think it’s already too late because of the school holidays. He’s totally out of his depth and like the court jester in the UK has come to realise that being a country’s leader is more then just preening oneself for the cameras and trying to appease everyone.

  2. I disagree. Even if Macron makes the right decisions, if he does so without consulting opposition parties and trade unions he will be accused of being autocratic (he already has had this accusation levelled at him) and that will lose him what little support and goodwill he has. Much as politics should not get in the way of managing something like this pandemic, humans being selfish creatures, it unfortunately does and the situation has to be managed.

  3. Rob rubbish. The mark of a good statesman is the ability to make decisions that may not be liked by all. All this pandering to all sides is what makes “leaders” like Macron weak and not fit for purpose.

  4. Tarquin, that is in an ideal world. In this, leaders like that get replaced with populist idiots like Trump and Johnson. Once that sort gets in it is near impossible to dislodge them.

  5. The only reason that the UK has lower figures is that they are not testing contacts in any methodical way – a lot of France’s positives are asymptomatic. However – it is very clear that people are not distancing any more!

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