Macron describes France’s baby steps out of lockdown

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The French will be able to return to their favorite stores and attend church services again next week after a month of partial lockdown from the virus – but they will have to wait until at least January 20 to savor or enjoy a restaurant meal. a gym session.

President Emmanuel Macron set new rules in France’s antivirus strategy on Tuesday, after imposing nationwide restrictions last month as viral infections, hospitalizations and deaths rose in Europe.

France’s infection rate per 100,000 population is now less than a third of what it was at the start of November, and the number of people in hospitals and intensive care has been falling for a week.

“The peak of the second wave is over,” Macron announced in a televised address to the nation.

The situation remains tense, however, with hundreds of virus-related deaths per day, so the cautious emergence of the lockdown bears witness to this.

On December 15, some museums and cinemas will be allowed to open, and national stay-at-home rules relaxed. France will reintroduce its 9 p.m. curfew and the associated stringent fines. Macron said the curfew would be lifted for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. On January 20, and only if daily infections drop below 5,000, restaurants and gyms will be allowed to reopen.

Currently, everyone in France needs an authorization form to leave their home and no pleasure travel is allowed, although schools and some workplaces remain open.

The government has vindicated doctors who warned not to ease restrictions too quickly and repeat mistakes made by France in emerging from a spring lockdown without a clear mask policy and limited testing capacity.

“If we let go too quickly, the virus will circulate again too quickly,” Rémi Salomon, head of the medical commission of the Paris hospital administration, told France-Info on Tuesday.

Wearing leggings, cummerbunds or headgear in surgical masks, owners of shops, restaurants and bars marched in Lyon on Monday to ask for permission to reopen. Some threw red flares and one of them was holding a sign that said simply: “No future”.

France has reported more infections than any country in Europe and 49,232 virus-related deaths, among the highest in the world.

France’s announcement comes the day after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said haircuts, shopping and pub visits would be back on the agenda for millions of people this week. next, when a four-week lockdown in England ends on December 2.

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