Prime minister Jean Castex held a press conference Thursday to announce that the 10 km restriction will be lifted from May 3 although the 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew will continue.
Where we're at
There are more Covid patients in ICU currently than during the second confinement (5,984 vs 4,900) although Castex said “it seems the peak of the third wave is behind us.” With an average of 30,274 national cases a day, 17% less than last week, 80 departments have witnessed diminishing case numbers.
France is far from the conditions set for exiting the second confinement—“5,000 cases per day and around 2,500 to 3,000 people in intensive care”—in December.
As of yesterday, France’s national incidence rate was 337 with a 9.46% positivity rate but the reproduction rate had dipped to 0.98 despite high hospital capacity at 115.6%. In the Alpes-Maritimes the incidence rate has dropped to 203 with a 5.9% positivity rate. Hospital capacity has also fallen to 89% and the vaccination rate is 25.94%.
In Monaco, for the week ending April 18, the incidence rate was 62.58 with a positivity rate of 2.22%.
In France, the cost of Covid to the State is expected reach €424 billion over three years, which breaks down to €6,500 per French person per year or €14,600 per household.
From April 26-30, nursery and primary schools will go back to school physically while middle and high schools will remain on distance learning and return to school from May 3. University students will be able to attend one day of classes per week from May 3.
The government stated that a “strict protocol’ will involve 400,000 saliva tests to be carried out weekly in elementary and middle schools with one self-test per week for each student over 15. Between two and four million “auto-tests” weekly are expected and the cost will be reimbursed by social security. A class will be closed if one case of Covid is detected. Additionally, open air classes are encouraged as well as supervised physical sports activities.
What will reopen
Reopening of “certain terraces,” businesses, cultural activities (museums, cinemas, theaters, concert halls) and some sporting activities to open either May 13 and 17.
Hair salons, bookstores, record stores, DIY stores, shoemakers, florists and chocolatiers, as well as churches and public services, have remained open.
Discos, nightclubs, gyms, fitness clubs, pools, stadiums, sports venues, public fairs, events and exhibitions will have to wait.
Ikea, Celio and Sport 2000 are among 250 brands and federations to publish an appeal to the government “for an imperative reopening of all shops no later than May 10” stating that “since April 3, more than 150,000 stores have been closed following the decision of the President of the Republic to restrict the activities of so-called “non-essential businesses.” They are also demanding a confirmation and strengthening of promised financial aid.
In unrelated Covid news, according to the public body FranceAgrimer, 80% of the country’s vineyards have been affected by last week’s frost with a loss of around 30% of annual production estimated.
13,247,089 (nearly 20%) of the French population have been vaccinated, and 5,013,963 (more than 7%) have had their second dose. A quarter of the adult population, 14 million people, will have their first shot by the end of this week with an objective of 20 million by mid-May.
According to Covidtracker, to vaccinate the entire adult population (52 million people) by August 2021, 586,190 doses would have to be injected every day. At the current rate (average over the last two weeks), the goal would be reached on January 3, 2022.
There are 1,700 vaccination centers across the country and another will open from Saturday at Disneyland Paris (which has been closed due to Covid). The government is launching a campaign to promote the Janssen (available in pharmacies from this weekend) and AstraZeneca vaccines, which the population is shunning (only 50,000 people have had the AstraZeneca jab). These are essential to achieve the objectives of the vaccination campaign.
India has been added to Brazil, Chile, Argentina and South Africa, and the department of Guyana, as a list of countries from where travelers will be subject to strict controls upon arrival and a compulsory ten-day isolation in France.
Prime minister Emmanuel Macron is expected to address the nation before the end of the month to officially announce the end of confinement and the progressive return to a normal life.