Everyone could see it, Jean Castex confirmed it: the epidemic situation in France, although “Significantly improved” since the re-containment, “Marked time in recent days”. “We are on a kind of plateau, the number of new contaminations is no longer reduced and even tends to increase slightly again”, said the Prime Minister Thursday, December 10, during the weekly press conference on the Covid-19 epidemic.
To explain this stagnation, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, has put forward several possible causes: the “Collective relaxation”, the consequences of the reopening of “non-essential” businesses and, finally, the arrival of cold and humidity. With 14,000 new cases diagnosed the day before, the target of 5,000 daily cases on December 15, set by Emmanuel Macron, is out of reach.
Faced with this situation, the government still decided to enter a new phase on Tuesday, December 15, but with more severe restrictions than expected. The exit certificate will no longer be necessary and travel between regions will again be possible. However, a curfew will be put in place every evening, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. He will be “Strictly controlled”, warned Jean Castex, while Gérald Darmanin warned: “There will be no instructions for indulgence” given to the police.
The evening of December 31 will be no exception. No New Years Eve away from home, therefore. The interior minister promised to be “Uncompromising on unauthorized gatherings and wild parties”. New Year’s Eve celebrations “Concentrate all the ingredients for an epidemic rebound”, justified Jean Castex.
Christmas will be the only exception: no curfew on the night of December 24th to 25th. “Christmas occupies a special place in our lives and our traditions”, recognized the Prime Minister. On the other hand, Olivier Véran urges the French not to be tested en masse as Christmas approaches, so as not to clog the laboratories.
For the world of culture, Jean Castex announced that establishments open to the public “Will remain closed for three more weeks”, a decision which concerns theaters, museums, performance halls, but also stadiums, circuses, zoos and gambling halls. This provision will be reviewed from January 7.
The Prime Minister had a few words of support, acknowledging a “ particularly painful decision ”. But that will certainly not be enough to appease the world of culture, which had believed in resuming its activities, rescheduling films and shows and recording reservations. The disappointment is all the greater as there are only four days left to adjust activities to the government decision.
In fact, for the film distributors who had relaunched promotional campaigns, this false hope generates deadly losses. For the performing arts, it is the important receipts of the end-of-year festive shows that are soaring.
The noose will not loosen either for places of worship, which will have to stick to the current rule imposing to leave two seats free between two families or two people and to occupy only one row in two. A disappointment, especially for Christians who hoped for an increased gauge for Christmas celebrations.
Finally, Olivier Véran announced a further strengthening of the now famous strategy “Test, alert, protect”. In the coming weeks, he announced that he would aim for a target of 100% of known PCR test results in less than 24 hours, or even in less than 12 hours, and a significant increase in the weekly number of antigen tests.
Above all, he announced a goal ” ambitious “ : that of guaranteeing each patient a home visit by a medical team “Multidisciplinary”, including a nurse responsible for testing the other residents of the home. The hypothesis of controlled isolation of patients and liable to penalties in the event of non-compliance has, however, been abandoned.
“This year 2020 will definitely have been trying for all of us”, concluded Jean Castex, evoking an epidemic “Which lasts longer than one would have liked”.