- This Wednesday is marked by the reopening of terraces, cinemas, theaters and museums, while the curfew will be pushed back until 9 p.m.
- This first stage of the deconfinement decided by Emmanuel Macron is taking place in a context of declining epidemic pressure.
- A successful bet for the executive? The latter remains cautious, in particular on the risk of the appearance of new variants.
The end of the tunnel ? After long months of restrictions linked to the coronavirus, France begins this Wednesday a first stage of deconfinement. Cinemas, theaters and museums will reopen to the public after 203 days of closure, respecting maximum attendance levels. The French will also be able to meet for a drink on the terrace, at least until 9 p.m., the new curfew schedule. A glimpse of the old freedom.
“We see today that the signals are green and it shows that the President of the Republic was right in this calendar”, welcomed RTL Gabriel Attal on Monday. “It proves wrong to all the prophets of doom, to all those who do not believe in the responsibility of the French,” added the government spokesperson.
“The president was right to present this deconfinement calendar”
At the end of April, the executive was accused of not taking sufficiently strict health measures against the English variant, which has resulted in 43,000 deaths since the start of the year. “The President of the Republic was right to present this deconfinement calendar, and to maintain May 19 as the first stage of reopening, while many said that it was irresponsible and premature, we support the cabinet of Gabriel Attal . The French have been responsible, and declining indicators prove him right. “
These reopenings are taking place in a general context of a clear decline in the epidemic at the national level, with an incidence rate dropping to 142 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over seven days, from more than 400 at the beginning of April. Even decreased in the hospital, where the number of Covid-19 patients was less than 23,000 Monday, to the lowest since October, and in the intensive care units, with 4,190 patients.
Proof that the bet was successful? “It was not a bet of the president, but a cold analysis of the situation on the circulation of the virus and the vaccine success”, answers the deputy LREM Anne Genetet, while France reached its objective of 20 million first injections vaccines to May 15. “We can add to this a strict control of our borders to limit the appearance of variants, and the gradual opening, in stages, of the country”, adds the spokesperson for the group to the National Assembly.
The government remains cautious
Even in decline, the figures remain high, however, and in Ile-de-France and Hauts-de-France, in particular, the occupancy rate of critical care services still exceeds 100%. A finding made ten days ago by the Scientific Council,
who warned about “a hasty exit” braking measures, risking inducing “a possible fourth wave” in the summer of 2021. Scientists instead recommended waiting for “a vaccination level of 35 million people” and a drop in the number of contaminations to less than 10,000 per day.
But the structure, which once guided the government’s action, no longer really has the ear of the Elysee. “We will always find epidemiologists to say that we must contain more and more. But the government must find a balance between restrictive measures acceptable to the population, but without total lifting to avoid the pressure cooker effect of decompression that we experienced last year during the deconfinement, ”says Anne Genetet.
The opposition seems, for its part, to have “validated” the deconfinement schedule decided by the Head of State, to focus on the way out of the economic crisis or the modalities of the health pass. In government, we welcome the beginnings of a return to happy days, but the last few months call for caution. “We remain vigilant, especially in the face of variants. Next stop is June 9 [avec la réouverture des salles de sport et intérieurs des restaurants], which will allow us to see the impact of the first lifting of restrictions on the epidemic, ”adds Gabriel Attal’s entourage. Emmanuel Macron will offer himself a visit to the Aube on Wednesday to mark the reopening of sports activities.