Macron’s Address to the Nation
A quick breakdown of what President Macron announced tonight regarding confinement, curfews and Christmas.
Since the second period of lockdown began at the end of October, daily cases have dropped significantly from 60,000 to 20,000.
The number of beds occupied in ICU have shown a slow decline from 4900 to 4300.
Macron announced that the second wave has passed, that France has avoided the worst case scenario predicted by scientists and government alike by acting with civic spirit.
He applauded the health service who continue to provide effective, rapid treatment even in the face of exhaustion.
He also thanked the wider community, the professionals, the volunteers and individuals, saying that together we have achieved these results.
He stated that we must not lose sight of other health preoccupations; non-Covid patients, the long term consequences of the virus and the psychological consequences of the pandemic and confinement, particularly among the vulnerable and the aged.
He encouraged everyone to increase their vigilance for cases of domestic violence.
He explained that although the virus has slowed in France, it remains prevalent in the northern hemisphere and to date, we can count over 50,000 deaths.
Although the statistics are going in the right direction, he announced that France is still a few weeks away from the target of under 5000 new cases per day and 2500 – 3000 patients in ICU.
As such, he confirmed that we must continue our efforts and that restrictions will remain in place.
What will change?
Saturday 28th November
Confinement rules will remain in place and you will still need an attestation every time you leave your house but the option for exercise and pet exercise will increase to 3 hours per day and within a radius of 20km from your home.
For school children, outdoor extra-curricular activities will be allowed to take up again.
Shopping will be allowed and as such all business and services will be able to open until 9pm, in strict compliance with sanitary protocols, although Macron called on everyone to use common sense and keep the outings to a minimum.
Tuesday 15th December
If the target numbers (under 5000 cases, 2300-2500 in ICU) are met, there will be a lifting of confinement. A 9pm curfew will remain in place with the exception of the 24th and the 31st.
Travel will be possible between regions so that people can spend Christmas with friends and family, but again, he called for common sense, keeping the number of people within an enclosed space to a minimum.
From this date, if targets a met, indoor extra-curricular activities can take up again and cultural centres will be able to receive the public including cinemas, theatres, museums etc.
Bars, restaurants, theme parks, festivals and nightclubs will remain closed.
Whether the ski slopes are able to open or not will be decided soon but Macron said it would be unlikely in time for Christmas and more probably over the course of January. The decision will be taken at a European level.
Wednesday 20th January
By this point, data will be available for evaluating the consequences of the upcoming changes. A decision will then be made according to numbers. If they remain under 5000 per day, the curfew will be lifetd, bars and restaurants will be able to reopen, and lycées and universities will be able to teach at full capacity.
However, if the numbers do not remain under 5000, new decisions will be made in a bid to avoid a 3rd wave and a 3rd confinement.
The outcome is the responsibility of everyone, no one is passive. We must be sensible, we must not drop our guard.
We must continue to protect our families by wearing masks even at home when with people from outside of immediate household.
The geste barrières must be respected: regularly wash your hands, respect social distancing and air the rooms of the house every hour.
Tester, alerter, protéger, soigner
France is the European leader in terms of testing and from January, all test results will be available within 24 hours. Continued innovations are making the process easier and more efficient all the time.
The objective is to identify more efficiently the chains of contact. Macron encouraged listeners to continue to download and use the TousAntiCovid app, particularly in the shops and cultural centres that will open over next few weeks.
He also assured listeners that the government is continuing to recruit and train staff for following up the contact cases.
Macron said that there would be a democratic debate, involving all stake holders, on how best to isolate those who are contaminated while continuing to provide support, both practical and psychological, during the period of isolation.
He pledged to support the health services in treating Covid 19 patients and in reducing the most serious cases.
There are several vaccinations currently being developed and will be made available as soon as they have been approved by health authorities.
All being well, the first vaccines will be available towards the end of December/beginning of January, with others becoming available in the spring.
Doses will attributed on a European level, depending on population numbers for each member state and a scientific committee and a community body will ensure transparency of information (what we know and what we don’t know).
The vaccination will not be obligatory but will be available as soon as possible for those who want it.
Local authorities will define the best way to proceed, supplying the most vulnerable first and then the greatest number possible.
Macron suggested that the economic situation is likely to get worse before it gets better but assured listeners that the government will continue to provide support across the board: to companies, employees and the unemployed.
During the 2nd wave, economic measures were reconsolidated and new benefits will be available for those in need.
Restaurants, bars, gyms, nightclubs and all business forced to close will receive 20% of their 2019 turnover or a 10,000€ lump sum.
Young people are encouraged to visit the online platform ‘Un jeune, une solution‘ for specific advice and support.
As in his previous address, Macron encouraged listeners to trust in science and to avoid conspiracy theories. He accepted that he doesn’t have all the answers but assured listeners that his decisions are taken in the best interest of the country.
He said that we mustn’t give in to resignation or anger, highlighting that the past 9 months have shown that we can do things that we never thought possible; transforming the health system, innovations and inventions in the digital realm, and above all, a spirit of solidarity.
“Once again, we will be, I am certain, ready to affront this crisis, as well as the climate crisis, terrorism and inequality. Tomorrow we will overcome, together.”