Macron to address nation as Covid-19 infections in France drop

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                Le président français Emmanuel Macron devrait annoncer une refonte des règles de verrouillage du Covid-19 dans le pays dans un discours télévisé mardi soir à la suite d'une baisse des infections à l'échelle nationale.
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                                    <p>La France devrait commencer à assouplir les règles de verrouillage de Covid-19 dans les semaines à venir, en effectuant le processus en trois étapes afin d'éviter une nouvelle flambée de la pandémie, selon de hauts responsables.

In his speech on Tuesday, Macron is expected to announce an adjustment to the restrictions that have been in place since October 30.

“Emmanuel Macron will give perspectives over several weeks, especially on how we are adjusting our strategy. The challenge is to adapt the lockdown rules as the health situation improves while avoiding a new outbreak of the epidemic, ”government spokesman Gabriel Attal told the Frenchman. weekly, Le Journal Du Dimanche.

“There will be three stages for (lockdown) to relax given the health situation and the risks associated with certain companies: a first stage around December 1, then before the end of year holidays, then from January 2021” , Attal added.

Macron had said that France’s second national lockdown would last at least four weeks. The sidewalks include the closure of non-essential shops, restaurants and bars.

But with recent data showing France is on track to curb the surge in coronavirus infections, the government is under pressure from stores and businesses to ease restrictions in time for the Christmas shopping season, when many retailers achieve most of their annual turnover.

“We were committed to allowing them (the traders) to reopen around December 1 if the health situation improves, which appears to be the case,” Attal said.

However, bars and restaurants “will continue to be restricted”, he added.

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Light at the end of the “long dark tunnel”

Macron’s speech comes a day after pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced that a vaccine in development has been shown to be “very effective” in trials involving 23,000 people.

The announcement came after other drug trials developed by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna reported greater than 90% efficacy.

The developments have given virus-weary citizens around the world a boost as the holiday season approaches.

While the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hailed the latest batch of results as being clear at the end of the “long dark tunnel”, he warned the world must ensure that drugs were distributed fairly.

“Every government rightly wants to do whatever it can to protect its people,” Tedros said. “But there is now a real risk that the poorest and most vulnerable will be trampled on in the vaccine rush. ”

French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday the country would win its battle against the coronavirus but it is a fight that will take time, warning that the lockdown was not over yet.

(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP and REUTERS)

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