French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide 4 week lockdown, closing schools and business, following the worsening corona situation in the country.
“We did everything we could to make these decisions as late as possible, when they became strictly necessary. That is now,” Macron said in a televised address on Wednesday. New variants make the virus “more contagious and deadlier.”
The French leader implored the nation to make an extra effort as the lockdown comes into force on Saturday. Restrictions will be flexible this weekend, during the Easter holidays, to allow people to relocate within regions. Seventy-one percent of French said they approved of the decision to extend restrictions, according to a snap Harris International poll.
In his address, Macron spoke extensively about education. Schools, including day-care centers, will shut for three weeks from April 12 to April 26, he said though a chunk that coincides with the holidays when kids would be home anyway. Still, it was something Macron had wanted to avoid as he had taken great pride in keeping classrooms going.
“We are one of the few countries that kept schools open because we believe in this investment in young people, our young people need to learn and no one knows the long-term social and economic consequences the lockdowns will have on them,” Macron said.
Other measures include:
- Unemployment benefits for parents who can’t work from home
- Government support to closed sectors will be extended
- Closure of non-essential businesses.