Breakdown of Macron’s Interview
Last night, Wednesday 14th October, President Emmanuel Macron was interviewed live by Anne-Sophie Lapix, from the channel, France 2, and Gilles Bouleau from TF1.
Here’s a breakdown of what was discussed;
From the beginning, Macron expressed his desire to share with viewers what is currently known about the virus:
Nevertheless, we are all concerned:
During the original confinement, the virus was localised in the east and patients were able to be sent to other areas of the country to spread the workload. Now, it is all over the country and medical staff are exhausted from 8 months of fighting.
The government is therefore introducing new measures and enforcing existing measures to allow us to continue until such a time as a vaccine or treatment is found.
He reminded those who felt themselves deprived of their liberty, even their right to catch the virus, of their duties as citizens. He reminded everyone that France is a republic of which solidarity (la fraternité), is one of the 3 guiding principles. Whether for the elderly, the vulnerable or the medical staff, protection is the primary objective.
Statistically, the aim is to reduce the 20,000 new cases per day to 3,000 – 5,000, with under 15% in ICU; numbers that are manageable for emergency services.
A curfew from 9pm to 6am will be put in place from midnight Friday 16th – Saturday 17th for the following places:
- Paris and Ille de France
- Saint Etienne
The curfew will be in place for at least 4 weeks, although Macron intends to go in front of parlement to request an extension until 1st December.
He again called for common sense and solidarity in respecting the curfew but confirmed that the police will be checking attestations, with 135€ fines for those flouting the rules, increasing to 1500€ for repeat offenders.
Reopening of bars and restaurants will be progressive, as was the case at the end of the first confinement.
THERE ARE NO CURFEWS OR FORCED CLOSURES FOR THE P-O.
The priority is to keep life going; schools, colleges and universities, work, the country’s economy. Public transport will not be limited, regional travel will not be restricted. You can go on holiday but the rules of citizenship must be respected.
Indeed, Macron specified that the vectors of acceleration are not professional, or even cinemas or theatres; they are in fact social gatherings.
Across France, he encourages residents to limit groups to 6, whether at home, in restaurants or out in the street. This obviously does not include members of your immediate household, which may amount to more than 6!
Working from home is recommended whenever possible but again he called for common sense. He accepted that in a holiday home, working from home can be pleasant and productive. In a small apartment, however, with the children at home, it can be impossible. The situation needs to be negotiated by, and beneficial for, everyone. It doesn’t need to all the time, perhaps just a few days a week to reduce the pressure.
Masks & gestes barrières
Masks are recommended all the time and everywhere, including the private sphere when mixing with people outside of your immediate household.
He reminded viewers of the need to regularly wash your hands with soap or hydroalcoholic gel, to socially distance by at least 1m with anyone not in your immediate household and to regularly air enclosed spaces.
100% chômage partiel for employers in restaurants, cafes, tourism, events, culture, sport… will be re-established, and help for businesses will be extended in the areas of curfew.
There will also be an extension of the help available to independent businesses across France, including a delay of repayment deadlines for state loans by up to 1 year, with lower rates of interest.
Additional help for those on RSA and APL benefits (at least 150€ and 100€ per child) is being made available because they are the hardest hit, not only because of their accommodation, which is often smaller and housing more people, but also because most of the jobs affected by the crisis are temporary/unstable contracts (CDD).
He also defended this one-off financial help rather than increasing benefits on a permanent basis because he stressed the onus was on getting people back to work. He reminded viewers that, even before Covid, his government had increased social benefits and that during the first wave, they had created training programs, apprenticeships and a back to work bonus (prime d’activité), which are still in place.
He recognised that it’s a difficult time to be young. Disruption to education and exams, restrictions of movement, uncertainty regarding the future. He called on the under 25s to continue to make sacrifices, as we all must, as citizens.
The interviewers pushed the president on the delays and shortcomings for the processing of tests, which he accepted and explained by the technicality of analysing the samples, and the fact that there are no large analysis centres, while thanking the hard work of those currently trying to cope with the unprecedented demand.
Macron confirmed that the virus would be around until at least summer 2021 and as such, spoke of changes and a movement towards a new strategy during November and December : test – warn – protect.
New tests antigeniques have been approved by the WHO and will soon be available across France. It will still involve a swab of either the nose or the mouth but without the need for lab analysis. Indeed, the results will be available within 15 to 30 minutes and will be done in pharmacies and other certified centres.
New methods of analysis are also being developed to better analyse groups of tests together and innovation continues across the world to develop self-tests, such as is now the case for pregnancy.
The application, Stop Covid, didn’t function. Not enough people downloaded the app for it to be effective in France and in the UK or Germany, where a significant number did download it, it still didn’t have the desired effect in reducing cases.
A new app is now being developed, Tous Anti Covid (everyone against Covid), that aims to learn from the mistakes of Stop Covid and will be presented on the 22nd October. It will provide up to date, local information on the situation and on places to find tests near you.
The app is not designed to run 24/7, which caused battery depletion or connection issues with Stop Covid. Rather it is to be activated when you know you will be in proximity with others: restaurants, bars, people’s homes… any time when the risk is elevated.
Restaurant and bars will also run the app to help them trace and more quickly identify clusters, allowing them to contact clients who may have been affected.
Those who test positive must observe 7 days of strict self-isolation, even if they are asymptomatic. If you suspect that you have the virus, you must also self-isolate, awaiting testing. Contact your GP for more details on how to go about this.
President Macron finished by assuring viewers that there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful. He recalled France’s longstanding history as a country of science, citing the 18th century Lumières (scientific philosophers such as Rousseau and Voltaire) and the Institut Pasteur as reason to stop casting doubt on the validity of information provided on the virus.
He said, by basing ourselves on scientific fact, we can see that the situation is serious, but we are acting. We are learning how to be a nation again. We had allowed ourselves to become a society of individuals but that, in fact, we are a nation of united citizens. We can only succeed if everyone plays a role. We will succeed, together.
Watch the interview here.