Will Macron announce big changes in Covid-19 speech?

France’s president has a televised interview and could announce new restrictions to stem the spread of coronavirus, with cases increasing rapidly.

13 October 2020
France President Emmanuel Macron. He will give a speech on Wednesday to address the coronavirus situation. Media outlets in France have been speculating that Mr Macron will announce a curfew as part of new restrictions
By Connexion journalist

Reader question: Will President Macron announce major new restrictions relating to coronavirus during his TV appearance this week?

Short answer: Unlikely, but no one is sure.

President Emmanuel Macron will give a televised interview on Wednesday (October 14) to address the situation of coronavirus in France. 

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal has said that Mr Macron could announce new restrictions in his speech. 

"Yes, at some point, additional measures will have to be taken if the circulation [of this virus] that we have seen in recent days is confirmed and accelerates further".

Last week, France recorded over 20,000 cases of coronavirus in a 24-hour period. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Mr Macron has made four official televised speeches, with the last one coming on June 14. During these lockdown and deconfinement were among the announcements. However, Wednesday's TV appearance is set to be in the form of an interview, rather than an official 'address to the nation'. 

Media outlets in France have reported that Mr Macron could announce a curfew as part of new restrictions, in a similar move to measures implemented in Berlin, Germany. 

Dr Jean-Paul Hamon, president of the Fédération des Médecins de France, told The Connexion that he thinks that right now, not even the president knows what he is going to say. 

“Will he announce the need for a curfew as in Berlin and Frankfurt? I don’t know,” Mr Hamon said. 

“He may say that we need to remain cautious, he might remind us that barrier gestures are efficient.

“Honestly, it is not easy to govern at this moment. He [Mr Macron] will have to navigate between the desire to keep the economy functioning, the entertainment, restaurant and tourism industries, etc. 

“I think he will be extremely cautious and I’m sure he doesn’t know yet what he is going to say.”

He said that Mr Macron is likely looking forward to France’s October holidays (Les vacances de la Toussaint) with impatience. 

“For two weeks the children will not be going to school so there should be less circulation of the virus,” Mr Hamon said. 

The holiday begins on October 17 and ends on November 2. 

France’s tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has encouraged French people to go away on holiday during this time, despite rising coronavirus cases around the country. 

“We are going to do everything "so that the tourist season" until Christmas can take place, he said. 

“And I encourage the French to book.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that France’s coronavirus tracing application ‘StopCovid’ would be getting updated and would be given a new name, ‘Alerte Covid’. 

The new application should be more information-orientated, with the possibility of activating local notifications to keep abreast of Covid-19 developments and restrictions within one's own territory, radio station France Inter reported. 

The app is due to be launched on October 22 and could be announced during Mr Macron’s speech.

Mr Macron will speak at 7.55pm on Wednesday. The broadcast will be aired on TF1, France 2, Franceinfo, LCI and TV5 Monde.

Read more:

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