Emmanuel Macron condemned: Support for France's response to coronavirus plummets – poll

The Ifop poll of 1,019 people, conducted for weekly Le Journal du Dimanche (JDD) on April 29-30, showed just 39 percent of French people have confidence in the government’s ability to “effectively” handle the outbreak, down 16 points from a previous Ifop survey published mid-March. The poll also found that 20 percent of respondents think that rightwing leader Marine Le Pen would handle the crisis “better” than President Emmanuel Macron, while 15 percent said far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon would do a better job.

“Concerns over issues like the reopening of schools and summer holidays are exacerbated” now that we’re getting closer to the end of the lockdown, Ifop’s deputy chief Frédéric Dabi told the JDD.

France, which has reported nearly 25,000 deaths from Covid-19 – the respiratory illness caused by the new coronavirus – is preparing to gradually lift drastic lockdown measures in place since mid-March from May 11.

But M Macron has warned that the deconfinement would be only a first step for France to pull out of the crisis.

“May 11 will not be the passage to normal life. There will be a recovery that will need to be organised,” the 42-year-old centrist said in a speech at the presidential palace after a meeting with horticulturists Friday.

From that date, schools will gradually reopen and businesses will be free to resume operations, though cafés, restaurants and cinemas will have to remain closed until at least early June.

The government has warned it is prepared to slow or delay the unwinding of the lockdown if the virus infection rate spikes markedly higher. It has also decided to extend a “state of health emergency” until July 24 to combat the spread of the disease. 

The Macron administration is struggling to shake off mounting criticism over its handling of the health crisis, in particular its mixed messages over the effectiveness of face masks in slowing coronavirus transmission.

To begin with, French authorities judged wearing a mask to be largely ineffective for the general public and given shortages in supply, the issue was seen as largely disputable.

But that has changed in the face of a steadily mounting death toll and rocketing demand while the government has scrambled to secure supplies both at home and internationally.

The number of people who have died in France after contracting the flu-like infection rose by 135 to 24,895 on Sunday, the health ministry said.

However, the number of people hospitalised with Covid-19 and the number of people in intensive care units continued to decline, it said. 

The number of people in hospital fell on Sunday to 25,815 from 25,827 on Saturday, and the number of people in ICU fell to 3,819 from 3,827.

The number of coronavirus deaths has also been declining in recent days, with 135 fatalities reported over the past 24 hours on Sunday – the lowest single-day tally since March 22.

France currently has the fifth-highest death count in the world after the United States, Italy, Britain and Spain.

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