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France to debate ending state of health emergency in mid-May

A five-month transition period is proposed during which measures such as reinforced border controls and a requirement for arrivals to show proof of Covid vaccination could be brought in

28 April 2021

Prime Minister Jean Castex speaking on April 28 Pic: Élysée / @Elysee / Twitter

By Thomas Brent

A bill proposing the end of France’s state of health emergency, set to finish on June 1, is to be debated in parliament on or around May 10. 

While the country is under a state of health emergency, the government can introduce without decrees measures such as curfews, travel restrictions and lockdowns, both at a local and national level. 

The draft text contains details of a transition period, set to last between June 2 to October 31, that will help ease France out of the state of emergency. 

It states that during these five months, the prime minister may continue to implement measures by decree, that are “in the interest of public health and for the sole purpose of combating the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic”.

Macron to confirm reopening dates for France this Friday

Prime Minister Jean Castex said today (April 28) that this law, if adopted, will allow for the reinforcement of border controls and the “possibility of a proof of vaccination” being demanded for people seeking to enter France. 

The draft bill also includes the possibility of strengthening the means by which authorities can ensure quarantine rules are being followed. 

If a resurgence of the epidemic warrants it again, the prime minister will also be able to "regulate the opening to the public" of places such as restaurants, shops or theatres "while guaranteeing people's access to essential goods and services", the text states.

The measures prescribed "shall be strictly proportionate to the health risks and appropriate to the circumstances of time and place".

"They shall be terminated without delay when they are no longer necessary," the draft text states.

"Our intention, with the establishment of this transitional regime, is to allow us to accompany the reopening process with measures adapted to the situation,” Mr Castex said. 

President Emmanuel Macron is set to speak this coming Friday, April 30, to officially confirm plans to end the Covid lockdown gradually in France, with restrictions expected to ease from May 12 onwards.

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