Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Macron turns to military to fight virus

Published:Thursday | March 26, 2020 | 12:24 AM
French President Emmanuel Macron wears a face mask during a visit at the military field hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, yesterday.
French President Emmanuel Macron wears a face mask during a visit at the military field hospital in Mulhouse, eastern France, yesterday.

PARIS:

PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron launched a special military operation yesterday to help fight the new coronavirus in France, one of the world’s hardest-hit countries.

As part of the new ‘Operation Resilience,’ France is deploying helicopter carriers to help transport patients in overseas French territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean.

Striking a combative tone on a visit to a military field hospital in the virus-ravaged eastern city of Mulhouse, Macron paid homage to medics who have died, “who paid with their lives to save other lives”.

Macron also promised a “massive” new investment plan for public hospitals, after years of cost cuts in France’s renowned healthcare system that have complicated efforts to stem the spread of the virus.

Facing criticism that his government was too slow to lock down the country as the virus spread, Macron criticised those “who would fracture the country, when we should have one obsession: to be united to fight the virus”.

Reiterating that France is at “war” with the virus, Macron warned: “We are just at the beginning. But we will make it through because we will not surrender, because we have the strength.”