Terraces, sports halls, curfew … Emmanuel Macron unveiled on Thursday a schedule for deconfinement “in four stages”, which should accelerate between May 19 and June 30, despite a fragile health situation.
This communication was made a few hours before the announcement, by the ARS of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, of the “first confirmed case in France” of an Indian variant, detected in Lot-et-Garonne on “a patient returned from India”.
Emmanuel Macron acknowledged that if a variant was found to be resistant to vaccines, “you can see that this changes the situation”, in an interview with the regional press.
He also intends to “activate + emergency + sanitary brakes in the territories where the virus would circulate too much”, with these criteria: more than 400 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, a “very sudden” increase in this rate and “a threat of saturation of resuscitation services “.
“The next few weeks, we will build together the path that will bring us back to normal life,” said the head of state Thursday evening on twitter, detailing the “steps” announced.
First stage on May 3: as planned, travel restrictions within 10 km of home will be lifted, middle and high school students will return to classrooms … On the other hand, the curfew will remain unchanged.
We will have to wait until May 19 to see the curfew pushed back to 9:00 p.m. It will also be the return of the terraces of bars and restaurants, with a maximum of six people per table. “We must rediscover our French art of living, while remaining cautious and responsible”, wished the Head of State.
Shops will also be able to reopen on that date, with appropriate gauges and protocols, as will museums, cinemas and theaters – up to a limit of 800 people indoors and 1,000 outdoors.
Third step: on June 9, the curfew will be postponed to 11:00 p.m. and cafes and restaurants will be able to reopen indoors – always with a maximum of six guests per table. It will be possible to return to the gym and telecommuting will be made more flexible.
Finally on June 30, on the eve of the holidays, “end of the curfew”, said the Head of State. It will be possible to participate in events of more than 1,000 people, but with a health pass (negative test of less than 72 hours or certificate of immunity).
This pass “will never be a right of access which differentiates the French,” assured Emmanuel Macron, specifying that it “could not be compulsory” in restaurants, theaters and cinemas. “On the other hand, in places where crowds mix (…) it would be absurd not to use it”, he considered.
Hotel and catering professionals were delighted to have “finally a calendar”, while worrying about unknowns on the level of gauges and aids.
The same goes for the various employers’ organizations which however regretted that the businesses did not reopen for the ascent.
The Head of State assured him: “I have never made a bet on the health and safety of our fellow citizens”, affirming to have put “the human before everything”.
– “Precipitation” –
Healthcare professionals have greeted this schedule with caution.
“Maybe it will stabilize but I do not see by what miracle”, said on RTL Gilles Pialoux, head of the infectious diseases department of the Tenon hospital in Paris, for whom the decision making “is more in addition removed from scientific logic “.
“Beware of haste,” warned the hospital federation of France.
On the other hand for Simon Cauchemez, member of the Scientific Council which advises the government, “if we gradually extend the lifting of health restrictions until the beginning of July, with a more sustained pace on vaccination, we find ourselves at the beginning of the summer holidays. in a more tenable epidemic situation “.
The number of Covid-19 patients hospitalized in intensive care continued on Thursday its slow decline that began a few days ago, to 5,804, according to figures from Public Health France. The number of Covid patients in hospital fell to 29,487 from 29,911 the day before. A total of 26,538 new cases have been recorded and 321 people have died in hospital in the past 24 hours, or 104,253 since the start of the epidemic.
While vaccination has become a crucial issue, many voices have called on the government to expand eligible audiences, such as the president (ex-LR) of Île-de-France Valérie Pécresse.
An option rejected by the Head of State: “we will continue to prioritize by age”, but vaccination will be open “from May 1” to all obese adults, having “a body mass index greater than 30” , he said.
So far, 14.9 million people have received at least one injection, including more than six million two doses, with a record 545,888 injections in the past 24 hours.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday warned Europe on easing restrictions, saying the situation in India, which is on the rise, “can happen anywhere”.