Castex’s announcement on Christmas, confinement and curfew
As always, a brief breakdown of what was announced by Prime Minister Castex this evening, Thursday 10th December.
Although we have seen considerable improvements over the past few weeks, over the past few days the improvements have plateaued.
The number of new cases had dropped from 50,000 per day to 10,000 per day but over the past 24 hours has gone back up to 14,000. The death rate is also rising, with 107 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants.
Although this is in part due to the relaxation of measures and the reopening of public spaces such as shops, the pattern can also be seen across Europe where measures are still strict and this because of the cold, wet, winter climate.
Hospitalisations in this 2nd wave are higher than they were at the peak of the 1st wave on the 11th May. There is 1 hospitalisation in France every minute, with an ICU admission every 7 minutes.
With the slight raise in the number of new cases, we can expect a raise in the number of serious cases in the weeks to come. Already evacuations have been made from the Bourgogne and Franche-Comté regions, where emergency services are no longer able to manage the numbers.
The 2nd wave is not over. The target of under 5000 new cases per day will not be met by the 15th December and with the holidays coming up, the likelihood of increased public contact will only serve to worsen the situation.
As such, the provisional measures set for the 15th December have been revised.
The confinement will be lifted from the 15th December but the public spaces that are currently closed (museums, gyms, stadia, cinemas, religious establishments etc.) will remain closed until at least 7th January.
The curfew that was provisionally set at 9pm will be moved forward to 8pm, and the acceptable reasons for breaking it will be stricter.
An exception will be made for the 24th but you must limit your gatherings to a maximum of 6 adults. There will be no exception for 31st. You must be at home by 8pm, again with no more than 6 adults staying over.
Castex advised against spending time with vulnerable people over the holidays but if you do plan to do so, limit your movements in the 5 days before.
During the day, there will be no attestation needed and travel between regions is authorised.
Only travel that can be justified by one of the reasons below will be authorized between 8pm and 6am, with the exception of the 24th:
- Work movements
- Urgent family matters
- Community actions (pre-authorised)
- Health reasons – hospitals, buy medication from the pharamacie de garde
- Pet needs
- Disabled people & support workers
For the above reasons, you will need to present an attestation (the new one will be made available by the 15th) and additional justification such as proof of work.
Anyone in breach of curfew or without the required documentation will face a 135€ fine.
During the current confinement, police have carried out 2.9 million controls, resulting in 285,000 fines. Controls will be reinforced and although police will act with tact, there will be no indulgence.
Given the extension of restrictions, financial aid for employees and businesses will also be extended. This support will be quickly and easily accessed. Since the application form was made available on the 4th December, 372,000 applicants have already received payment.
Nobody will be left out. Aid will continue to develop in response to the changing situation, with specific diapositives being made available for winter sports professionals and students over the coming days.
In order to better understand the virus, contain the spread and facilitate quick access to treatment, the test-alert-protect strategy will de developed and extended.
Although France has one of the highest test rates in Europe, the government pledges to Increase the number of tests and to accelerate the access of results as well as improving the identification of contact cases and better accompanying those affected
Castex addressed the question of sanctions for those who do not respect the obligatory self-isolation, by citing the worry that people would simply abstain from testing, which would be detrimental to the country’s response to the pandemic.
75% of test results are already available within 24 hours, but the target is to reach 100%, and as far as possible provide results in under 12 hours. Tests are now available in dentists, physios, midwives and other medical establishments.
The alert will be made quicker and more effective by increasing the number of people working on tracing. The Tous Anti Covid app is being used by over 11 million people, and has been reinforced with additional modules for positive cases
A new strategy will be put in place over the coming days which will see a multi-disciplinary team do home visits for each positive case. They will test the other members of the household and provide personalised advice and support.
A new document is being developed and will be made available at the testing stage, to help people understand the steps to take in case of positive results.
The Health Minister, Olivier Veron, emphasised that in the lead up to Christmas, you should only take a test if you believe you may be infected.
He said that testing too early will not identify contagion and that a negative result it could lead to a false sense of security, reducing our vigilance in terms of the gestes barrières, such as washing our hands, wearing a mask and social distancing.
He also emphasised that we need to avoid saturating laboratories to ensure the service is available and efficient for those who really need it.
Mass testing will be carried over the next few weeks in Le Havre, Ardennes, Roubaix and St Etienne.
Prime Minister Castex ended by sharing his 3 convictions:
- The necessity for prudence – an easy decision now would only provide relief in short term
- The battle against virus will only be won by mobilization of all during the holidays
- Early 2021 must allow us to move forward – a vaccination will be made available for the most vulnerable over the next few months, but above all, we need to respect the decisions that the government has taken in our best interests.