Almost half a year after the end of the corona-related lockdown, the French have to adapt to new exit restrictions. As head of state Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday evening, new and drastic measures against the second wave of the corona epidemic will apply nationally from Friday.
Prime Minister Jean Castex wants to explain the new catalog of measures to both houses of parliament on Thursday. A vote is also planned, Macron said.
With the announcements of the 42-year-old head of state, the crisis in the country escalated dramatically. “Stay at home as much as possible. Respect the rules, ”Macron appealed to his countrymen in a televised address. He used the phrase “confinement” in French, which can also be translated as lockdown.
The 42-year-old made it clear that the restrictions are less strict than in the spring, when public life in the country was largely paralyzed. So the schools must remain open. Bars, restaurants and “non-essential shops” will have to close. The exit certificates for citizens that are customary in the spring will be returned. Traveling to other regions of the country isn’t easily possible either – but there should be exceptions on weekends for those returning from the fall break.
People must be able to keep working, and working from home is a priority. The measures are initially limited to December 1. “Stay at home as much as possible. Respect the rules, ”Macron appealed to his countrymen. He used the phrase “confinement” in French, which can also be translated as lockdown.
“We are overwhelmed by the acceleration of the epidemic”
Macron made it clear that the situation is dire. “We are overwhelmed by the accelerating epidemic,” he said.
The new restrictions are not unexpected for the approximately 67 million French. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal had already announced a “new phase” before the head of state’s speech. “The second wave is here,” the spokesman said after a cabinet meeting. Every effort must be made not to be overwhelmed by this wave. Macron also discussed the corona situation in a national security council twice within two days.
So far there is a night clock for about two thirds of the population, ie about 46 million people. The corona situation in the country has been deteriorating dramatically for weeks. More than 36,400 new infections were recently counted within 24 hours.
The number of deaths from the coronavirus rose significantly – authorities reported 523 on Tuesday evening, returning to the high levels seen in April. On Wednesday evening, the authorities spoke of 244 dead, the total number now close to 35,800.
Spokesman Attal said that in two weeks’ time a situation similar to that at the height of the first epidemic wave in the spring in the intensive care units of the hospitals looms. At the time, exit restrictions in France were among the strictest in Europe, schools were closed.
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The head of state had only addressed the citizens two weeks ago. At the time, he announced nightly curfews for Paris and other metropolitan areas.
Later, Prime Minister Jean Castex’s central government extended restrictions to 54 departments and the overseas territory of French Polynesia. Criticism of the government’s crisis management came from the opposition. He was under the impression of “constant improvisation,” the influential Conservative MP Eric Ciotti wrote on Twitter.
The economy must keep running as far as possible
Macron does not want to paralyze the country with its 67 million inhabitants – as in the spring – to a large extent. The economy must keep running as far as possible; people should work, but from home if possible. Unlike in the spring, the schools must remain open. Bars, restaurants and “unnecessary shops” will have to close.
Just like in the spring, citizens can no longer just move freely. Exit certificates should come back. People can take to the streets when they want to work, run important errands, visit a doctor or get some fresh air.
Traveling to other regions of the country isn’t easily possible either – but there should be exceptions on weekends for those returning from the fall break.
The measures are initially limited to December 1.