The total number of coronavirus deaths in France rose to more than 15,000 on Tuesday, making it the fourth country to reach that dismal milestone after Italy, Spain and the United States. The decision to reopen primary and nursery schools is a "mistake", Jean-Paul Hamon told France Info radio. "We are still in the midst of a rampant epidemic that is decreasing only slightly and, for me, the reopening of schools represents an unnecessary risk," he said.
"Not all children will respect the rules of social distance, they will want to play together and are at risk of taking the virus home," he continued, before considering the "premature" movement.
"Everyone expected the government to say that schools would reopen in September," added Hamon.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, for his part, emphasized the following morning that schools would reopen "progressively" and not "overnight".
"It will not be mandatory for children to return to school on May 11th. Once again, I insist on the fact that the overall objective is a gradual return to normality," Blanquer told France 2 television.
Earlier Monday, Macron announced that he would extend a virtual blockade to contain the deadly outbreak until mid-May, insisting that, while progress was being made, the war against the new coronavirus had not yet been won.
The 42-year-old centrist said that schools and shops would reopen, but that restaurants, cafes and cinemas would have to remain closed for longer. International arrivals from non-European countries will remain prohibited until further notice.
“When can we go back to a normal life? I would love to be able to give you an answer. But to be honest, I have to tell you that we have no definitive answers, ”he told the nation in a televised speech.
The hard blockade has been in place since March 17, with 67 million people in France ordered to stay at home, except to buy food, go to work, seek medical attention or exercise alone.
The epidemic is "starting to stabilize … hope is returning," said Macron, acknowledging that France was not "sufficiently prepared" when the first cases were reported in February.
"Right now, let's be honest, it revealed cracks, scarcity. As in all countries in the world, we lack gloves, hand gel, we are unable to give as many masks as we wanted to our healthcare professionals."
The head of the public health service, Jerome Salomon, told reporters on Tuesday that the total number of coronavirus deaths in the country had risen above 15,000, making it the fourth country to exceed that limit after Italy, Spain and the United States. United.
The number of deaths in French hospitals and asylums increased by 5% in one day, to an accumulated total of 15,729, against 4% on Monday and Sunday.
The total number of confirmed infections also increased 5.3% to 103,573, compared to an increase rate of 2.8% on Monday and 1.7% on Sunday.
But the number of people in intensive care units dropped from 6,821 to 6,730 in 24 hours – decreasing for the sixth consecutive day.