French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce a revision of the country’s Covid-19 rules for locking in a televised speech on Tuesday night after a reduction in nationwide infections.
France is expected to begin easing the rules for Covid-19 lock-in in the coming weeks and implement the process in three steps to avoid a new flare-up in the pandemic, according to senior officials.
In his speech on Tuesday, Macron is expected to announce an adjustment of restrictions that has existed since October 30.
“Emmanuel Macron will provide prospects over several weeks, especially on how we adapt our strategy. What is at stake is to adapt the lockdown rules when health conditions improve while avoiding a new flare-up in the epidemic,” Prime Minister Gabriel Attal told French weekly, Le Journal Du Dimanche.
“There will be three steps to facilitate (suspension) in view of the health situation and the risks associated with certain companies: a first step around 1 December, then before the turn of the year and then from January 2021,” Attal added.
Macron had said that France’s second national lockdown would last for at least four weeks. Sidewalks include closing unnecessary shops, restaurants and bars.
But with the latest data showing that France is on the verge of emptying a wave of coronavirus infections, the government is under pressure from shops and businesses to reduce time constraints for the Christmas season, when many retailers make up the bulk of their annual sales.
“We had pledged to let them (store owners) reopen around December 1 if health conditions improved, which seems to be the case,” Attal said.
Bars and restaurants, “however, will continue to experience limitations,” he added.
Light at the end of “long, dark tunnel”
Macron’s address comes a day after the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University announced that a developing vaccine had been shown to be “very effective” in trials with 23,000 people.
The announcement came after other studies of drugs developed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna announced efficiencies in excess of 90 percent.
The development has given a boost to virus-weary citizens all over the world as the holiday approaches.
While the Director General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the latest batch of results as light at the end of the “long dark tunnel”, he warned that the world had to ensure that drugs were distributed fairly.
“Every government rightly wants to do everything in its power to protect its people,” Tedros said. “But there is now a real risk that the poorest and most vulnerable will be trampled into the crowd of vaccines.”
On Thursday, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said the country will win its fight against coronavirus, but it is a fight that will take time and warns that the lock was not over yet.
( Jowharwith AP, AFP and REUTERS)