The Élysée is giving itself 8 to 10 days to decide between releasing the pressure or tightening the constraints, in the face of the coronavirus epidemic, while the executive insists on collective discipline. While the figures for the pandemic remain on a high plateau, the French economy continues to suffer: Renault announced record losses on Friday.
Should we let go of the ballast on the restrictions or, on the contrary, tighten the screw? Emmanuel Macron is giving himself 8 to 10 days to decide, faced with the Covid-19 epidemic in France. While the executive insists on collective discipline to keep the situation under control, the national economy continues to suffer: Renault announced Friday, February 19 record losses.
This new deadline was mentioned during a video conference with parliamentarians from the majority, and reported to AFP by participants.
The Élysée has not confirmed, but the executive is closely monitoring the evolution of the Covid-19 epidemic, in particular the rise of more contagious variants, to see if it can avoid more stringent measures like a re-containment, still advocated by some scientists.
In this context, Prime Minister Jean Castex, on a visit to Bordeaux, once again called for responsibility: “Now is not the time to relax. We have succeeded in avoiding re-containment, but it is very fragile. We must continue to be very disciplined, united and confident, “he said during a meeting with readers of the Sud-Ouest regional daily.
Stabilization of the pandemic but at a very high level
To cope with the risks posed by the new variants, the isolation period has been reduced from seven to ten days for those infected. Their progress worries in several regions, as in Moselle, around Dunkirk (North), or in Reunion, for which the government announced reinforced means and measures of restrictions.
For his part, the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, said Friday on France 2 “important” that the curfew at 6 pm “continues to be respected”, because it “has helped to stabilize the health situation” .
Stabilization of course, but at a still very high level, with more than 24,000 new cases confirmed in the last 24 hours and still strong pressure on hospitals (more than 25,000 hospitalized patients, including more than 3,300 in intensive care).
To further educate the French about barrier gestures, President Emmanuel Macron has also challenged two of the most popular YouTubers, McFly and Carlito: to make a video on their channel encouraging them to respect them. If it reaches 10 million views, they will be able to shoot one of their videos at the Élysée. Challenge accepted.
Record losses for Renault
On the economic side, the corporate earnings season illustrates every day the devastation caused by the shutdown of entire sectors for long months.
After the air, it is Renault, the flagship of the automobile, which announced Friday record losses of 8 billion euros for 2020.
This plunge into the red is explained in particular by the collapse of the Japanese partner Nissan, but Renault sales plummeted by 21.3% over the year, with less than three million vehicles sold in a car market in free fall. The group saw its sales fall sharply throughout the world, except in Russia and Turkey, where the market recovered in the second half of the year.
Hellfest : seated “metalheads” ?
Another stricken sector, that of the performing arts, received a breath of air on Thursday. The Minister of Culture, Roselyne Bachelot, has indeed set a framework for the holding of festivals this summer: a tonnage of 5,000 people, seated and distanced.
Gérard Pont, boss of the Francofolies, scheduled for mid-July in La Rochelle (150,000 people in 2019), welcomes “excellent news”. “Last year, in April, we were nowhere, without a decision, and here we are in February and we are told that there could be festivals, it’s already great.”
Another story for Hellfest, one of the main metal music festivals in Europe, scheduled for June in Clisson (Loire-Atlantique). “5,000 metalheads seated and distanced, it is not possible”, asserts Ben Barbaud, his boss, who considers the cancellation “inevitable”, as in 2020.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign, the main hope for a return to normal life, continues. After a much criticized start at the end of December, France passed the threshold of one million people on Thursday who received two doses and therefore fully vaccinated against Covid-19. Almost 2.5 million people have received at least one dose.