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Macron blames the British variant for French lockdown

Macron blames the British variant for French lockdown
LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP via Getty Images
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Tonight President Macron announced a wave of new national lockdown measures across France, following reports that more than 5,000 people across the country are now in intensive care. In a television broadcast he said that schools would move to remote learning from next week, that a 7pm curfew would now be in place and that all non-essential shops will close from Saturday. 

Macron cited the so-called 'Kent variant' as one of the main reasons for the lockdown, telling viewers: 'This variant which was identified for the first time from our British neighbours at the end of last year and to a certain extent, of course, gave rise to an epidemic within the epidemic and that is greater than last spring.'

It was just yesterday of course that Le Monde published a glowing article full of fawning quotes from Macron's aides calling him 'the president epidemiologist.' One gushing insider praised his ability to 'challenge' the health ministry and its official advisers: 'He consults all the studies as soon as they are published. To the point that, sometimes, the president can bring up one that the experts in front of him have not even read.'

Macron also announced a new France vaccine schedule, with all over 60s to have been offered the jab by April 16 and all over 50s done by May 15 – some two months after the UK did the same. Only 12 per cent of France has received a first dose of a Covid vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab still restricted to just those over the age of 55.

Mr S wonders, in light of tonight's sad news, whether the 'president epidemologist' is now regretting his decision to reject Britain's lead on how to deal with the 'British variant'.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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