EPIDEMIC: Emmanuel Macron’s televised address this Wednesday evening announces new restrictions to curb the coronavirus epidemic in France
- Emmanuel Macron announced this Wednesday evening new measures to curb the coronavirus epidemic in France, which is experiencing its third wave, a year after the first.
- The Head of State has extended to the entire territory the restrictive measures already in force in 19 departments.
- The president also promised that vaccination targets will be met by the government, and that cultural venues and sidewalk cafes and restaurants could begin to reopen in mid-May.
No confinement, but a new turn of the screw and a call to “everyone’s responsibility”. The Head of State spoke this Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. from the Elysee Palace in a 25-minute televised address. To deal with the third wave of coronavirus, Emmanuel Macron announced new measures, including an increase in the number of resuscitation beds in hospitals, a temporary closure of schools with the modification of school vacation dates and the generalization of the closure of so-called “non-essential” businesses throughout France. The president also detailed the vaccination schedule against Covid-19 and promised to soon specify the dates for the reopening of cultural places and restaurants, which could take place as early as mid-May.
It’s not my fault
Emmanuel first justified his speech on Wednesday, while, for several weeks, some doctors and political opponents have been calling for stronger measures to stem the epidemic rebound. Now, more than 5,000 patients are in intensive care, putting hospitals under great strain. “We did everything to make these decisions as late as possible, and when they became necessary, it is now”, judged the Head of State, according to whom “a lot is played during this month of April” .
“Where many of our neighbours decided to confine four months ago, we have gained precious days of freedom,” said Emmanuel Macron, who therefore did not indulge in any mea culpa. And to add: “Believing in the responsibility of the French, it is never a bet. ”
Restrictions extended to the whole territory
As for the announcements, the president first announced reinforcements for hospitals. The number of resuscitation beds, “already increased to 7,000”, according to the Head of State, must be increased to “a little more than 10,000 beds, in the coming days”.
Then, Emmanuel Macron chose to extend to the entire metropolitan territory the reinforced restrictions in force in 19 departments. This change will take place from Saturday, and for four weeks. In addition to the curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., businesses not on the government’s list, called “non-essential”, will have to close. The Head of State also wanted to “systematize” teleworking. In addition, it will be forbidden to move more than 10 km from home, except under certain conditions allowing to go up to 30 km from home.
Tolerance until Monday evening
However, there will be a certain tolerance until Monday evening, April 5th. “Whoever wants to change region to go isolate can do so during this Easter weekend,” said Emmanuel Macron. This tolerance “only concerns daytime trips, to spend the next few weeks in a place of their choice. No respect for the curfew, the prohibition of gatherings of more than 6 people on the public highway, clandestine parties, ”said the Ministry of the Interior.
Emmanuel Macron also indicated that “French women and men living abroad who want to return to France can also do so at any time”.
Call for “responsibility”
Emmanuel Macron also called on the French to limit contacts and meetings. “The irresponsibility of a few should not ruin the efforts of all,” he assured, justifying having ruled out “hard” confinement, with mandatory certification all day. Controls will however be tightened during the curfew.
With the approach of the Easter weekend, Emmanuel Macron also warned the French: “It is in these moments [family reunions, holidays] that we contaminate ourselves. He assured that the changes of regions will be possible until this weekend but that they will be banned then.
The “red line” of schools crossed
Another eagerly awaited measure, the closure for three weeks of nurseries, schools, colleges and high schools. The executive has sort of crossed its “red line” by making this decision. During the first week of closure, lessons will be provided by teachers, but virtually. Then two weeks of school holidays will begin on April 12 in all areas. On April 26, kindergarten and primary students will return to class, while the older ones will resume distance learning. Colleges and high schools will reopen on May 6th.
Students who wish to do so will be able to continue during the coming month by going to the university “for one day of classes per week”.
Macron maintains his vaccination goals
Regarding vaccination, the Head of State has not changed the prioritization strategy for the most vulnerable populations in the face of the coronavirus Covid-19, that is to say, the oldest and those with co-morbidities. He said that from next April 16, those over 60 can be vaccinated, then those over 50 from May 15th.
From mid-June, all French people will be able to have a dose injected, he assured. “We will keep the goal I set. All French adults can be vaccinated before the end of the summer, ”he insisted. To achieve this, Emmanuel Macron declared to put “all means in place to vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate, on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays”.
End on a more positive note
Emmanuel Macron also wanted to deliver some more encouraging prospects. “From mid-May, we will be able to gradually reopen the country,” he announced, promising to speak soon to “specify an agenda for reopening”. “We are going to build, between mid-May and the beginning of the summer, a calendar of gradual reopening for culture, leisure sports, events, our cafes and restaurants”, promised the Head of State.