Squeezed between contagions on the rise, about forty thousand a day, Emmanuel Macron asked for “an additional effort” for the next four weeks, an anti-pandemic “mobilization” that means accepting and respecting the “reinforced slowdown” at the national level. The French president also had to give in where he never wanted to, where he said he would never give up: the school, or rather “the French exception”. Middle schools and high schools will be closed for four weeks (two of which are on holiday for the so-called spring break); kindergarten and elementary school will be closed for three weeks, two of which are always scheduled holidays. Yesterday even the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, had joined the chorus of pressure saying that the current situation no longer allowed the exception, and everything had to be closed. The president, after the first confinement, had asked to reopen the institutions and had insisted that a compromise be found between safety and education with the result that the French, in Europe, are among the students who have attended the most days of school during the pandemic . An important record – the school is not negotiable, Macron said again – but used by the opposition to challenge the government’s measures. The political controversies were also joined by those of doctors who accused the government of not using the necessary prudence to fight the epidemic.
Macron is accused of being too lax, of having risked too much, but he has claimed those extra precious days of freedom that he granted the French. But the president also spoke of a light at the end of the tunnel: he can afford it because his vaccination campaign, which used to be a sloth, is now going faster: in mid-June in France, even under-50s will begin to be vaccinated.
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