France

Mask, curfew: why government lifted restrictions earlier than expected – Coronavirus

  • 1. The health context no longer justifies draconian restrictions
  • It was becoming difficult for the executive to justify maintaining a curfew. Jean Castex recognizes it today: the reasons given for the implementation of the measure, on December 15, no longer hold. Six months ago, Emmanuel Macron intended to “limit”, with the curfew, “all activities which increase the number of gatherings and lead people to gather without protection in closed places”. As contamination occurs mainly in enclosed areas, the onset of winter – and therefore of indoor and evening gatherings – associated with an incidence rate of 149 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants and more than 25,000 patients in the area. hospitals feared a third epidemic wave.

    Today, the situation is diametrically opposed. Summer is coming, we spend more time outdoors, where the risk of infection is much lower. Forcing oneself to “confine” oneself to one’s home, to family or friends from a certain time is no longer the best solution. “It’s even more dangerous to be indoors because the walls, ceiling and floor trap air,” says Jose-Luis Jimenez, professor at the University of Colorado Boulder and aerosol expert.

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    In addition, France is no longer in a situation of “health alert”: “only” 40 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants (a rate that had not been reached since mid-August) are counted and hospitals are arriving. again to breathe (less than 12,000 people are hospitalized for covid-19, including 1,950 in intensive care, which has not happened since mid-October).

    “The health situation is improving, and it is improving faster than we had hoped,” conceded Jean Castex on Wednesday, to explain the lifting of the curfew ten days before the scheduled date.

  • 2. The majority of neighboring countries have abandoned the measure
  • Of the 17 European states which had instituted a curfew this fall, only four, including France, still maintain it today. The Hexagon has also become, these days, the territory where the measure started the earliest, 23 h, against 1 h 30 for Greece or midnight for Cyprus and Italy. Even though France is not the territory where the virus circulates the most in Europe.

    It was therefore necessary to quickly rectify the situation. “If this curfew measure met a real need to support the end of the third wave, the very good results recorded no longer justify it. Only three countries, including France, still resorted to it and Greece, which is one of these three countries, has also decided to remove it, ”admitted Jean Castex on Wednesday.

  • 3. A feeling of injustice appeared in the public opinion
  • Government guidelines on curfews have become harder and harder to follow. Leading to some confusion among the population. On June 11, hundreds of young revelers gathered for an improvised evening on the Esplanade des Invalides were evacuated by the police for non-compliance with the curfew; at the same time, the spectators of Roland-Garros obtain an exceptional exemption from the executive to attend the end of the match Nadal-Djokovic. Monday, the Minister of the Interior assures that there will be “no tolerance” concerning the curfew to follow the match of the Blues; Tuesday, he goes back and asks “the police to show special leniency” during checks.

    At the same time, members of the government have a hard time explaining why it is imperative to be home at 11:10 p.m. but that at 10:50 p.m., it is safe to be outside. Or why it is possible to take off your mask on the terrace but not in the street.

    By modifying its deconfinement schedule from June 20 rather than June 30, the government is not only avoiding growing a feeling of injustice in certain categories of the population, but also creating new headaches. Which could happen with the Fête de la musique, on June 21, and the next game of the Blues in the evening, on June 23. Also conducive to overflows. And too bad if Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, affirmed two days ago that the curfew and the mask outside were always necessary health precautions.

  • 4. The proximity of the elections
  • According to the Canard Enchaîné, the next electoral deadlines are not unrelated to the decisions of this Wednesday. The weekly even sees it as a way for the executive couple to bring good news before the regional elections, which promises to be complicated for the majority.

    “The executive despairs at the idea that, every night before the elections, the police throw grenades to dislodge the revelers”, writes the Palmipède. “These revelers who are, in the great majority, young people, currently the priority target of Macron” in the pre-campaign for the presidential elections.

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