- Jean Castex was heard by the Assembly’s Commission of Inquiry on the management of the crisis linked to the coronavirus this Tuesday evening.
- The Prime Minister opened the door to a reopening of small businesses on December 1 if the health situation permitted.
- “Maybe indeed that we deconfined a little too much”, during the first deconfinement, recognized the head of government.
He arrived before the National Assembly’s commission of inquiry masked, with “humility and concern for efficiency”. Jean Castex was auditioned this Tuesday evening by the information mission on the impact, management and consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. Reopening of shops, resuscitation beds, deconfinement… For more than two hours, the Prime Minister answered questions from deputies on the management of the health crisis.
When can small businesses reopen?
“I know their importance in social life so it is extremely difficult to take these measures” of closing small businesses, Jean Castex reminded us straight away. The Prime Minister mentioned the date of December 1 for a possible reopening, while remaining cautious.
“If the epidemiological indicators follow the trend, then by this deadline around December 1, with improved protocols (…) we can effectively consider reopening shops that are not essential,” he said. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said during the day that a decision would be taken “next week” on this issue.
Restriction measures “will continue” after confinement
More generally, Jean Castex warned that the future deconfinement would be done gradually. “The better the current phase of containment produces its effects, the faster we can move on to a next phase, but which will not be a return to thebefore containment, ”said the Prime Minister. “That is to say that there will be braking provisions that will last”, referring in particular to establishments open to the public.
“The idea is that we manage more in the long term”, he added, pleading to “avoid the stop and go », That is to say the alternation of periods of confinement and deconfinement. This new phase, continued Jean Castex, will be marked by an increase in “the testing policy, which will be made possible by the arrival of the new generation of antigenic tests”.
“Maybe indeed we deconfined a little too early”
The former Mr. deconfinement of the government made a beginning of MEA culpa on release from quarantine last summer. “Maybe we have deconfined a bit too much. Perhaps also that the French people believed that this epidemic was behind us, and that the barrier gestures were not respected with enough zeal ”.
“Maybe indeed that we deconfined a little too much. Perhaps also that the French people believed that this epidemic was behind us, and that the barrier gestures were not respected with enough zeal”, declares @JeanCASTEX. #COVID19 #DirectAN pic.twitter.com/Ml5L1szvEw
— LCP (@LCP) November 17, 2020
However, he brushed aside criticism of the government’s unpreparedness for the epidemic’s new rise. “The idea that a second wave could occur was known to everyone and the risk of a re-containment, in which we find ourselves, was foreseen, anticipated […] When I was in charge of deconfinement, I indicated that this situation could occur, ”he said. The Prime Minister was careful to recall that “scientific speeches have never been particularly unanimous and convergent [et] do not necessarily enlighten the public authorities ”on the evolution of the epidemic.
Review of resuscitation capacity
This is one of the polemics that have stirred the political debate since March. The head of government took stock of the capacities of intensive care beds. “When this crisis arises in our country, there are 5,000 resuscitation beds armed and installed in France,” he said. “We were ready for 10,000 resuscitation beds for the first wave, you know we haven’t reached them. We are ready again for 10,000 for this wave and of course I hope we will not reach them. “
But the head of government also spoke of the difficulties associated with this adaptation, especially concerning staff. “There was never any question, in a month, two or six, of increasing the number of specialized nurses or intensive care anesthetists. No country has done it, it’s impossible ”.