Emmanuel Macron: Layla Moran hits out at ‘stupid’ comments
Coronavirus cases are rising steadily in France and the country’s vaccination programme is lagging far behind the UK. Despite this Prime Minister Jean Castex said the “economic, social and human” costs of another lockdown can’t be justified.
A number of medical experts have urged fresh action with one calling new restrictions “inevitable”.
Mujtaba Rahman, from the geopolitical risk firm Eurasia Group, warned the move could backfire on Mr Macron.
She tweeted: “Emmanuel Macron has taken a big gamble in refusing a third French lockdown.
“Could yet come back to haunt and seriously damage him.
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“So could the slow French vaccine rollout which is finally being corrected.
“But most polls, with one exception, are still astonishingly strong for him.”
Currently Mr Macron has approval ratings in the high 30s and low 40s.
However a recent Ipsos poll suggested far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen could beat Mr Macron in the first round of France’s 2022 presidential election and only lose narrowly in the second.
On Thursday France reported a Covid infection rate of 316.47 cases per million, just below the UK on 331.09.
However Britain’s rate has been falling sharply over the past few days due to lockdown and the vaccine programme whilst in France it is continuing to rise.
As of February 3 France had given 2.8 vaccines per 100 people versus 16.2 for the UK.
European Union countries have been badly hit by a shortage of vaccines, with procurement sorted by Brussels, and are lagging badly behind the UK, US and Israel.
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Whilst a third lockdown was rejected France remains under a 6pm-6am curfew.
However there are fears the infection rate could still surge, partly due to new Covid variants, as has happened in Portugal.
A number of French medical experts have publicly called for tougher measures.
Speaking to LCI TV Frederic Valletoux, president of the French hospital federation, warned the situation remains “very tense”.
He added: “I have been calling for a new lockdown.”
Tougher restrictions were also demanded by Karine Lacombe, Paris’ Saint Antoine hospital’s head of infectious diseases.
Speaking to France Inter radio she said: “We’re still at a high plateau in France.
“At one point it will be too high and, to bring it down, new restrictive measures will be inevitable.”
A recent poll suggested Ms Le Pen will beat Mr Macron in the first round of the 2022 presidential election.
Mr Macron is then forecast to get 52 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential election versus 48 percent for Le Pen.
There are reports some left-wing French voters are planning to abstain rather than voting for Mr Macron to block the far-right candidate.
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