The government relies on gentle deconfinement to save Christmas

Emmanuel Macron will he give a gift of deconfinement at Christmas? (drawing) – ludovic MARIN / AFP

  • The first stages of deconfinement should focus on small businesses, around December 1.
  • But the government wants to maintain restrictive measures to bring down the epidemic as much as possible before the Christmas holidays.
  • Emmanuel Macron could provide details on the organization of this holiday season during his speech on Tuesday evening. “Christmas will not take place by videoconference, but it will not be as usual,” said LREM deputy Anne Genetet

Will the French be able to spend the end of year celebrations with their family? The executive is currently reflecting on the first stages of deconfinement, as indicators of the coronavirus epidemic are on the decline. But the government wants to keep the pressure on to avoid any slackening in the coming weeks.

“The confinement is not over” and it is “not topical to deconfin the country,” the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, warned Thursday evening. The executive hopes to see the decline in the number of Covid-19 cases continue with this goal in mind: to save Christmas, an essential period of rest after months of restrictions and limited social interactions. Emmanuel Macron, who will speak on Tuesday evening, could provide details on the conditions for organizing this period of leave.

Continue to reduce contamination

“The decisive element is to break the wave so that people can meet up with their families at Christmas, without having the terror of infecting the grandparents”, told us at the end of October the LREM deputy from Rhône Bruno Bonnell. On this point, the objective seems to have been achieved. The epidemic peak of the second wave of Covid-19 has probably been crossed in France, the French public health agency said on Friday.

“The results are even better than we expected. SOS Médecins consultations have collapsed, admissions to hospitals are generally down even if the pressure remains strong, indicates deputy Anne Genetet, spokesperson for the LREM group in the Assembly. This shows that the measures taken, first the curfew, and then the confinement, have paid off. We must now cautiously accompany this deceleration of the epidemic. “

In this perspective, the government is moving stealthily. If he now refuses to talk about deconfinement, he should nevertheless announce the lifting of certain restrictions in the coming days. “We are on the right track” to reopen small businesses “around December 1,” Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday during a trip to Crozon (Finistère).

Christmas, but under what conditions?

Beyond crucial economic issues related to this period, the government will have to answer this puzzle: should the French be allowed to meet with their families at the risk of relaunching the epidemic? “It’s difficult for the executive because the holidays are eagerly awaited. It is therefore important to reduce the number of contaminations until December 19. [début des vacances scolaires], remarks the LREM deputy of Paris Pacôme Rupin. If the virus circulates at 30,000 contaminations per day like today, we risk the explosion. This will be much less the case if we are at 300, as at the beginning of the summer. “

The head of state had set the threshold of 5,000 contaminations per day as a condition for easing containment. But Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the Scientific Council, has already estimated that this figure would be reached “rather after Christmas, or even at the beginning of January”.

However, the executive does not seem decided to give up Christmas, a decision that would be socially explosive, at a time when it is already worried about the increase in the number of depressions in the country. “Christmas won’t be videoconferencing, but it won’t be business as usual. There will probably be recommendations to limit the number of people, ”says Anne Genetet. “People have understood that it would not be the big cousinades, but a Christmas in the restricted family circle”, adds Pacôme Rupin.

If the French can already book their train tickets for Christmas, it is still too early to say whether the trains will be able to run, warned the Minister for Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari on Friday.

One month before Christmas Eve, time is running out. Details should be provided on these issues during the week. “We will give some perspectives so that people can organize themselves, particularly with regard to travel. But everything will remain in the conditional, ”we say cautiously to Matignon.

But the concern could actually focus on another celebration, as Anne Genetet underlines: “At Christmas, we can have fun and share a meal while keeping our distance. It will be much more complicated for the New Year’s Eve on December 31, where we rather celebrate standing, glued to each other, especially among young people… ”

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