PARIS | France, hard hit by the second wave of COVID-19, will reconfine itself on Friday at least until 1er December, confinement however less strict than that experienced in the spring since the schools will remain open in particular.
• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic
“I decided that it was necessary to find, from Friday, the confinement which stopped the virus”, declared the French President, Emmanuel Macron, during a televised address of about twenty minutes.
France had experienced a very strict confinement of two months in the spring, as the country suffered the first wave of the coronavirus which had killed 30,000.
This new confinement, which will come into force overnight from Thursday to Friday, is a little less drastic than that of spring.
Main difference: nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools will remain open. For higher education, the courses will be given online.
“Our children cannot be deprived of education for a long time”, justified the Head of State.
Another change compared to March, visits to retirement homes will be authorized.
Bars, restaurants and “non-essential shops” will, on the other hand, be closed again, but the device will be reassessed every two weeks, assured Mr. Macron.
“You will be able to leave your home only to work, to go to a medical appointment, to bring assistance to a loved one, to do your essential shopping or to take the air near your home”, detailed the president of the Republic.
- Listen to French journalist Rachel Binhas on the reconfinement on QUB radio:
As in the spring, the French will have to provide themselves with a certificate of honor in order to justify their outings to the authorities.
Travel from one region to another will also be prohibited, as will private meetings “outside the strict family nucleus”.
In recent weeks, the country has been facing a second wave with more than 3,000 patients in intensive care, more than half of the current capacity of services, a level unprecedented since early May.
The president promised that resuscitation capacities would be increased to 10,000 beds soon.
If nothing is done, France risks knowing “at least 400,000 additional deaths” within a few months, warned Emmanuel Macron, assuring that he would “never” adopt the strategy of collective immunity.
The French president, however, insisted on the fact that the work “can continue”. “You will be able to go out to work,” he announced, while massively encouraging the generalization of telework.
“The economy must neither stop nor collapse”, he insisted while France already anticipates a decline of 10% of its GDP over the year, after the first confinement.
Utilities will continue to operate, as will factories, farms, buildings and public works.
Aid will also be provided to small businesses that will have to close, up to 10,000 euros per month of support for their turnover.
On several occasions in his speech, the Head of State compared the situation in France with that of his European neighbors.
“Once again, we must have a lot of humility, we are all, in Europe, surprised by the evolution of the virus,” said Emmanuel Macron, acknowledging that they are “overwhelmed by the sudden acceleration of the epidemic “.
“Some countries like Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands took harsher measures earlier than ours. However, we are all at the same point, overwhelmed by a second wave which, as we now know, will undoubtedly be harsher and more deadly than the first, ”he insisted.
Regarding travel, “mandatory rapid tests” for COVID-19 will be deployed “for all arrivals” at airports and ports.
“No traveler should be able to enter European territory without being certain that he is not a carrier of the virus”, he explained, specifying that the internal borders in Europe “will remain open” and “With some exceptions, the external borders will remain closed”.
If the re-containment is currently scheduled until 1er December, it’s already threatening the holiday season.
The president “cultivates the hope of celebrating with the family this so precious moment of Christmas and the end of the year holidays”, adding that he hoped to be able “to open certain businesses” by then, if the situation improves.
Prime Minister Jean Castex will hold a press conference on Thursday to detail the new measures.