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France tries to declutter Covid messaging with new slogan

The government has launched a new campaign amid widespread coronavirus fatigue among the French public

23 March 2021
By Connexion journalist

Prime Minister Jean Castex has issued a new direct slogan on Covid responsibility in an effort to correct widely criticised government messaging and rally a population struggling with pandemic fatigue.

Five days after the establishment of stricter coronavirus measures in 16 French departments, the government launched its "Dedans avec les miens, dehors en citoyen" (Inside with my own, outside as a citizen) campaign to clarify what people can do in those areas.

Mr Castex launched the slogan on social media, with an infographic explaining the message in greater detail. 

The 21 million residents of the 16 departments where Covid restrictions were tightened at the weekend are expected to respect rules on indoor socialising, routine and regular airing of their homes, staying at home during curfew hours and working from home where possible.

Outdoors, people should wear a mask and respect social distancing, avoid going out during curfew hours without an attestation citing a valid reason, not eat and drink with others, and remain within 10km of their home. People can meet up outdoors in groups of six or less, but picnics or BBQs are not advised, masks should be worn and physical distancing observed.

Read more: What you can (and cannot) do in 16 lockdown areas of France

The new bite-size message follows the motoring metaphor "Freiner sans enfermer" (Brake without locking up) launched last week. But that message was lost in criticism of the over-complex exemption forms for people in areas where measures are more strict - forcing the government to simplify the documents.

Meanwhile, unauthorised public events in Marseille and Annecy - neither of which are in affected departments - clouded the message the government has been trying to deliver, aware that a year after the first lockdown, many people would find yet more measures hard to take.

Last Thursday, Mr Castex announced the tightening of restrictions in 16 departments, including Île-de-France and Hauts-de-France. But his televised speech was considered to be confusing and overly technical.

As of Monday more than 4,500 patients were in intensive care, compared to 4,900 at the peak of the second wave in the autumn.

Medical experts have criticised the measures for not being strong enough.

The whole of France is now under curfew from 19:00 to 06:00 daily. 

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