Macron crisis: Trust in French President’s coronavirus response is falling, poll shows

The Elabe poll of 1,000 people, conducted online on April 28-29 for BFM television, found that only 38 percent of the French public have confidence in the Macron government’s ability to deal effectively with the outbreak. An overwhelming majority, 62 percent, said they “don’t trust” the government to successfully tackle the health crisis, up seven points from the last Elabe poll published on April 21.

The results echoed those of a separate poll by Odoxa-Dentsu Consulting also published on Wednesday, which found that 55 percent of French people lack trust in the government’s ability to implement a successful lockdown exit strategy.

The survey of 1,005 people, conducted on April 28-29 for Le Figaro newspaper and France Info radio, found that just 45 percent of the French think the lockdown rollback will be a success, down seven points from last week.

France will begin a slow but “risky” return to normal life on May 11, with shops, markets and some schools reopening after an eight-week lockdown that has paralysed the economy but saved more than 60,000 lives, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday.

But people will not be free to do as they please, with face masks compulsory on public transport, working from home encouraged for several more weeks, and restaurants and cafés remaining shuttered.

Mr Philippe said in an address to parliament “we will have to learn to live with the virus” as he called for strict, ongoing respect of social distancing and hygiene measures to limit new infections to a minimum.

The government is treading a fine line, he warned: “A little too much carelessness, and the epidemic restarts. A little too much caution, and the entire country sinks.”

Non-essential businesses have been closed since March 17, with people only allowed to leave their homes to buy food, go to work or seek medical care.

But Mr Philippe also warned that the lockdown could only be lifted if the number of new infections fell below 3,000 per day.

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Lawmakers approved the plan to ease the lockdown with a vote of 368 to 100, with 103 abstentions.

Some opposition MPs remain sceptical. Fabien Roussel, national secretary of the French Communist Party, said the government’s lockdown exit plan was “dangerous”.

He told France Info radio the plan is riddled with “approximations” and “uncertainties”.

The number of people who have died from coronavirus infection rose by 427 on Wednesday.

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Out of the 24,087 total, 15,053 fatalities occurred in hospitals, a figure up 1.6 percent, and 9,034 in nursing homes, up 2 percent, the health ministry said in a statement.

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

The number of confirmed cases now stands at 128,442, up 1,607 over 24 hours.

The number of people in French hospitals with the flu-like virus fell to 26,834 from 27,484 on Tuesday, its sharpest decline since a downward trend began 15 days ago.

The number of patients in intensive care dropped 4.1 percent to 4,207, a figure almost half of the peak of 7,148 on April 8 and down for the 21st consecutive day.

The number of people in ICU is seen as a key indicator of the outbreak’s impact on the country’s hospital system.

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