Issued on: 25/03/2020 – 21:17Modified: 25/03/2020 – 21:24
French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday announced the launch of army Operation Resilience to provide support in the fight against COVID-19 along with "massive investments" in the country's public health system as Frances coronavirus death toll rose to 1,331 with 25,233 confirmed cases.
Addressing a news conference from the coronavirus-wracked eastern French city of Mulhouse, where a military field hospital has been set up by the army, Macron promised comprehensive short- and long-term policy measures to tackle the crisis.
As part of the new Operation Resilience, the army will be deployed to help with logistics and medical support. France is also deploying helicopter carriers to help transport patients in overseas French territories in the Caribbean, South America and the Indian Ocean, Macron announced.
This new operation "will be entirely devoted to aid and support for the population, as well as support for public services to deal with the epidemic”, said Macron.
The French military has been actively engaged in health and logistical operations since the latest health crisis struck the country. The militarys health service have carried out three air rotations to evacuate patients from the hard-hit eastern region of France to areas less saturated with coronavirus patients. Besides the military field hospital in Mulhouse, the military has also done naval transfers of serious coronavirus cases from the French Mediterranean island of Corsica to the mainland.
French troops to withdraw from Iraq
Hours after Macrons address Wednesday night, the countrys Armed Forces Ministry said France will withdraw all troops it has stationed in Iraq until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak.
"France has taken the decision to repatriate until further notice its personnel deployed in Operation Chammal in Iraq," the ministry said, adding that it involved around 100 soldiers.
The army said it would continue air operations against the Islamic State (IS) group.
Massive new investment plan
Macron also promised a “massive” new investment plan for public hospitals, after years of cuts in the countrys renowned health care system that have complicated efforts to stem the spread of the virus.
"Once this crisis is over, a massive investment plan and an upgrade of the career paths will be put in place for our hospital system," said Macron.
Facing criticism that his government was too slow to lock down the country as the virus spread, Macron called for national unity and castigateRead More – Source