France’s Macron turns to military to fight virus

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.

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French president Emmanuel Macron speaks during a call conference to install the CARE committee (comite d’analyse, recherche et expertise) about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), at the Elysee Palace in Paris on March 24, 2020 on the eighth day of a lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron launched a special military operation Wednesday 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 health care 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 criticized 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.”

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