Macron: Expert looks at reaction to pandemic response
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Emmanuel Macron has been blamed for the Covid crisis that has forced France into a third lockdown. Mr Macron announced a new lockdown this week, prompting swift questions around the French President’s leadership. A new YouGov poll asked people across Europe about their confidence in their government’s handling of the pandemic.
France ended up second lowest in the poll, just above Germany, with only 25 percent of French voters approving of Mr Macron’s handling of COVID-19.
In a brutal rebuke, BBC News presenter Ros Atkins laid the blame for the third lockdown at Mr Macron and his refusal to listen to experts.
He said: “A year into the pandemic and France has announced a third lockdown.
“The infection rate is going up, hospitalisation rates are going up, and the daily death total remains stubbornly high.”
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The BBC News presenter pointed out that some ICUs in France are 400 percent capacity.
Mr Atkins continued: “Because of these pressures, new national restrictions will apply across France and frustration is building.
“In January, when the impact of a new variant in the UK could be seen, but France decided not to lock down. It’s a decision that’s now fiercely criticised by some.”
Paris magazine Marianne wrote this week: “How can one label a government that knowingly decides to let nearly 300 of its citizens die every day, even though it could prevent it?”
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Also this week, French magazine Le Point characterised the French vaccine rollout with President Macron riding a snail.
In another article, for Le Monde, Mr Macron’s aides described the French President “as so bright and has read so much that he’s now France’s top authority on coronavirus and can do without experts”.
Mr Atkins continued: “We can’t consider France’s predicament without turning to the president.”
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Mr Atkins added: “The president boldly brushed off the predictions of epidemiologists in ruling out that January lockdown.
“He wants to get re-elected next year, after all.
“He has since refused to apologise for the decision.
“There have been mixed messages and shifts on policy surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine.”
BBC’s Paris Correspondent Hugh Schofield remarked: “He stuck his reputation in January on this idea of not shutting down schools.”
In a televised address this week, Mr Macron warned the country would “lose control if we do not move now”, introducing restrictions including closing non-essential shops, and shutting schools for three weeks after Easter.
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