France in the final stretch to present its deconfinement plan

The French government is working on final arbitration on Monday to refine its perilous deconfinement plan which will be presented to deputies on Tuesday, when unemployment figures rose sharply in March against the backdrop of an epidemic.

The plan will be presented to the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, with a vote in the process despite protests from opposition parties. They demanded that the vote be postponed until Wednesday, when only 75 of the 577 deputies can go to the hemicycle.

It is “one more brutality”, denounced on Twitter Jean-Luc Mélenchon (LFI), while the boss of deputies LR Damien Abad asked “24 more hours for substantive work in committee and the consultation of our colleagues who will not be able to sit. “

It is a real balancing act that the government must engage in: reviving the economy without relaunching the epidemic.

The crisis was reflected very concretely in the unemployment figures in March, with a record increase of 7.1% over one month (+246,100 people).

Result, the Ministry of Labor says it wants to initiate “a reflection with the social partners” to “quickly adapt” the unemployment insurance rules. The unions unanimously demanded, even before the health crisis, that the government abandon its unemployment insurance reform entirely.

It suspended until September a section which tightens the calculation of the allowance for precarious workers, alternating short contracts and periods of unemployment, and which was to come into force on April 1. They are the ones who registered at Pôle Emploi in March.

– Death of Henri Weber –

The country has been confined for almost six weeks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, which has killed 22,856 people in the country since March 1, including 242 new deaths in 24 hours.

Among the dead: former senator Henri Weber, co-founder of the Revolutionary Communist League, figure of the left and of May 68, died at 75 years of age.

The situation in hospitals improves a little further with 152 deaths in 24 hours – the lowest daily balance in five weeks – and a continuous decline for eighteen days in patients in intensive care for Covid-19 (4,682 people) .

But resuscitation / intensive care services – which had 5,000 beds before the crisis – remain under pressure with another 7,553 hospitalized, all causes combined.

The Korian group, singled out for its management in its retirement homes in France, recorded 606 deaths related to Covid-19 out of 23,000 residents.

Two weeks before the start of deconfinement, there are many questions: where to make the masks mandatory? Which tests and for whom? Reopening of shops everywhere or by region? What about companies? What about summer vacation?

The Scientific Council responsible for enlightening the government delivered on Saturday evening its recommendations for a “gradual and controlled lifting of containment”.

– Schools puzzles –

Notable divergence with government choices, he recommends that crèches and educational establishments remain closed until September but took “note of the political decision” to reopen them gradually in May, by “taking into account health issues but also societal and economic “.

“The scientific council is there to give a certain amount of information but it is the political power which decides”, explained to AFP its president, Jean-François Delfraissy.

“From a health standpoint, if you ask people who manage an epidemic, they would like everyone to stay at home until there is no longer a case. Obviously this is not possible” , underlined Franck Chauvin, president of the High council of public health.

For the start of the new school year, which must be gradual, the council recommends in particular the compulsory wearing of an anti-spray mask in middle and high schools, for staff and students.

Experts also suggest lunch in the classroom, taking a temperature at home every morning before school, and strategies to avoid mixing students. But they dismiss the feasibility and the interest of a massive screening.

This note should serve as a “basis,” said Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of National Education.

Beyond school matters, the Scientific Council recommends authorizing travel between regions by public transport if the precautionary measures are observed. However, he “strongly” advises against international travel for a few more months.

The main unions of SNCF and RATP are worried about the conditions of deconfinement in trains, RER and metro. “We want masks, protections, a certain number of provisions, to be sure that we will not contaminate”, that “we will not contaminate users, families,” said Laurent Brun, secretary general of the CGT-Cheminots, first union of the railway group on BFMTV.

Can we then go on vacation this summer? “The next two months are crucial,” said Franck Chauvin. “If the number of new cases per day begins to re-increase, it is because the epidemic will start again, and therefore we will have to take measures again”.

burs-tsz-laf / rh / fmp

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