The Prime Minister confirmed that the traffic restrictions will be lifted on May 3 and that the curfew should end on June 2, as provided for in the draft law on the state of emergency which was considered in the Council of ministers. This lifting of restrictions “will be progressive as the vaccination campaign unfolds”, underlined Jean Castex, while Emmanuel Macron had already specified Monday that it would be “slowly” at “from the beginning of May”.
“The level of traffic remains high”
The Elysée did not specify the format of the Head of State’s intervention, but it should be different from his address to the French on March 31, during which he announced new restrictions. A televised interview is thus envisaged. In recent days, Emmanuel Macron has outlined the different stages of the gradual reopening of the country after the resumption of classes in schools on Monday.
Jean Castex explained that the epidemic situation continued “to improve at a steady rate: the number of daily cases has risen on average weekly from 38,000 cases at the high of this third wave to 26,200 very precisely over the last seven days”. The reproduction rate (R) of the virus, a key indicator corresponding to the number of people infected for a single patient, fell to 0.89 on Tuesday, he said. “This means that the level of traffic remains high” but that “we see a downward trend, which is slower than in November” and whose impact on hospitalizations “is still reflected only very timidly in the evolution of the number of patients in intensive care”, he summed up.
Debate on the health pass
According to him, the vaccination campaign “is progressing at a very good pace with 469,000 people vaccinated on the day yesterday alone.” “The goal of reaching 15 million people first-vaccinated by the end of this week and 20 million in mid-May is very much within our reach”, he added, specifying that “60% of people over 60 will have been vaccinated for the first injection” Wednesday evening.
He greeted the “small recovery” the number of vaccinations with the controversial AstraZeneca serum and indicated that the government would “think about expanding audiences” who can be vaccinated if it is confirmed that a “certain number of appointments” available were “not honored”. The Council of Ministers adopted the bill to end the state of health emergency on June 2, which however grants it powers until October 31 on the movement of people or the closure of shops if the sanitary conditions l ‘demand.
“The situation (…) will no longer be that of a state of health emergency” but the future law “should allow us to respond to a duty of health vigilance” giving “the capacity for a rapid reaction in the event of a further acceleration of the epidemic, either at the level of the country, or at that of a particular territory”, explained Jean Castex. This new device “no longer allows the use of a curfew”, which has been imposed on the whole territory since December 15, but “it allows the government by decree to close or keep closed a number of establishments open to the public”, he clarified.
Jean Castex also announced that the Parliament “will have the last word” on the creation of a health pass, for which “the debate must take place”, especially because it “affects our fundamental freedoms”.