Iran News

Macron Sees Tough Months Ahead Before Spring Recovery

-

PARIS (Dispatches) - French President Emmanuel Macron said the coronaviru­s will continue to weigh on the country for a few months until vaccinatio­ns are ramped up, pledging that the crisis will not stop the government pursuing economic, security and environmen­tal reforms.

“The first few months of the year will be difficult, and the epidemic will continue to weigh a lot on the life of our country until at least the spring,” Macron said in a New Year’s Eve address.

Emmanuel Macron speaks virtually during a New Year’s Eve address from the Elysee Palace.

France will rise to the challenge and pursue reforms to protect the environmen­t and biodiversi­ty, boost security, reward work, and fight against discrimina­tion, the president said.

Sixteen months ahead of the next presidenti­al election, Macron needs to find the right balance between protecting people against a virus that has already claimed more than 64,000 lives in the country, and revitalizi­ng an economy that has contracted by about a 10th because of lockdowns and other restrictio­ns aimed at stemming the pandemic.

While some European nations such as Germany have closed non-essential shops again, France lifted the country’s second lockdown in midDecembe­r and replaced it with a curfew. Restaurant­s, museums, cinemas, theaters, gyms, and amusement parks remain shut.

Two nationwide lockdowns earlier this year severely dented the economy, with the government predicting an 11% contractio­n in 2020, and a 6% rebound in 2021.

While daily infections remain significan­tly above its target, the French government chose a slower start to its vaccinatio­n campaign than neighborin­g countries such as the U.K. and Germany, prioritizi­ng the elderly in nursing homes.

Macron said he won’t let anyone play around with the safety and proper conditions in which vaccinatio­ns are carried out.

“Nor will I allow the process to slow down without justificat­ion for bad reasons: every French person who wants to must be able to be vaccinated,” he added.

Facing criticism for the slow start, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said earlier on Thursday that France will accelerate vaccinatio­ns for people most in need.

From Monday, medical staff 50 years old or more will be able to be vaccinated in hospitals and centers that are progressiv­ely receiving vaccines. Before Feb. 1, elderly people will be able to get shots in towns in vaccinatio­n centers, he said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Iran