POLITICS: Bill to regulate transport and gatherings for four months is expected to be introduced on Wednesday
A new extension is not on the table at this stage. The government wants to end on the 10th July, the state of health emergency implemented in late March to fight the epidemic of coronavirus, said Tuesday evening Matignon insisting on “the development at this positive stage of the health situation ”
“However, this exit from the state of health emergency must be organized rigorously and gradually”, and the government will, therefore, present Wednesday to the Council of Ministers a bill which will, for four months, regulate access if necessary transport, to limit or prohibit certain gatherings and to close again certain establishments welcoming the public.
“An exceptional regime”
“These provisions would not, however, authorize the return to strict containment”, such as that implemented from March 17 to curb the epidemic, at the cost of a sudden shutdown of the economy, said the services of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. The state of health emergency, in force since March 24, had been extended after two months until July 10. It “must remain an exceptional regime,” insists Matignon.
The government, therefore, does not wish to extend it a second time. But the text presented Wednesday “leaves at the disposal of the Prime Minister some of his tools, for a period of four months” from July 10 if ever the epidemic, today deemed “under control” by the Scientific Council, was experiencing a rebound.
Among these tools are “the possibility of regulating access to means of transport and the conditions of their use (obligation to wear a mask), the possibility” of ordering the temporary closure and of regulating the opening of one or more categories of establishments receiving the public “or even the possibility” of limiting or prohibiting rallies on the public highway as well as meetings of any kind “.
A “gradual” exit
The exit from the state of health emergency “would thus be organized gradually, under the control of the Parliament which would be informed, under the same conditions as during the state of health emergency, of the measures taken by the Government”, specifies Matignon.
If a general or localized aggravation of the situation were to justify more restrictive measures of liberty, the government should then resort again to the state of health emergency, which could be reinstated, on all or part of the territory, by decree in the Council of Ministers.
The number of serious cases of Covid-19 requiring hospitalization in intensive care has dropped below 1,000, with 955 patients, against more than 7,000 at its peak in early April, according to the latest report released on Tuesday. France recorded 87 additional deaths linked to Covid-19, including 53 in hospitals, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the epidemic to 29,296.