A year on from the outbreak of the health crisis in the Principality and Prince Albert II has given an interview with news channel Monaco Info. On Wednesday evening, he spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic during a special programme on the channel. Extracts.

A long-lasting pandemic

When asked if he had expected the crisis to last so long, Prince Albert II explained how “this was a disease we knew nothing about, it was an unprecedented situation” and thought the crisis would only last for “a few months.” A year on and the virus remains ever present. “When we don’t know what the future holds, both in the short and long term, it’s a bit worrying and very unsettling. I understand a lot of people’s frustration and how much everyone wants to have some sort of normality back.”

Monaco is fighting Covid on its own terms…

In terms of the Principality’s success at handling the crisis, the Sovereign was keen to emphasise the quality of their hospital facilities, as well as the “coordination between different services, health care professionals, organisations and the authorities.” Everyone has rallied together for “the greater good” supporting “all the measures we have been able to put in place.” As for the help and measures offered by the State, Prince Albert II confirmed that they had enabled the “economy to function in a more or less satisfactory manner.”

…despite occasional criticism from Monaco’s neighbours

Towards the end of 2020, Monaco came under fire from the Alpes-Maritimes region for allowing bars and restaurants to remain open. To this, Prince Albert II responded that “the health situation” in the Principality “was favourable”, which allowed for “opening up the economy”, as opposed to doing so in neighbouring regions, “as their health situation would not allow it.” The Sovereign also went on to discuss his meetings with Christian Estrosi, the Mayor of Nice, reassuring that “everything will be sorted out very quickly” and “there is no animosity” between them.

A lifeline for the environment

Despite the doom and gloom, it may be possible to find a silver lining. Could the first lockdown have been beneficial in some way? Perhaps for the environment and changing people’s attitudes towards nature? “Analysis on the resilience of nature has shown that if there is less human impact, then nature will take over.” According to the Head of State, “we have an extraordinary opportunity” to “start doing things differently” by making “sustainability and the fight against different types of harmful pollution” every day habits. “Let’s take advantage of our recovery from this crisis and make the most of technological innovation.”

Rebooting the economy is no easy task

Speaking about the economic aspect of the crisis, Prince Albert II made it clear that “this crisis can’t last much longer, not past the end of this year.” Currently in talks with the government about what the potential exit strategies could look like, the Sovereign confirmed the need to “prepare for this not being over in the near future.” With regards to the possibility of another lockdown, the message was quite clear: “it’s not a good thing, we get the impression people don’t want to hear about one. We are going to do everything we can to avoid ending up in that situation.”