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France lockdown: No change for at least two weeks

Prime Minister Jean Castex made the announcement tonight, asking everyone in France to respect the rules. We summarise the key points of his speech

France's prime minister Jean Castex has said that France’s lockdown, introduced October 30, will remain unchanged until at least December 1. 

When President Macron announced the lockdown he promised there would be an update after two weeks at which point tighter or more relaxed restrictions could be announced.

However Mr Castex said there will be no immediate change and asks everyone to respect the rules and continue the recommended sanitary measures including airing rooms.

He said that from December 1 shops may be permitted to open, depending on the Covid situation, but not bars or restaurants. He also said that exemption forms (attestations de déplacement) will remain even beyond December 1.

Key points from Mr Castex’s announcement include:

  • Christmas and New Year.
    Mr Castex said: "Our objective is to be able to allow a new easing [of rules] at the time of the Christmas holidays so that the people in France can spend the end of the year festivities with their families, but these will not be able to take place in the same way as usual. We will of course be able to be with our own family, but it would not be reasonable to hope to be able to organise big parties for several dozen people, especially on New Year’s Eve."
  • There will be a possible easing of rules on December 1 but it will strictly be for shops
  • Bars, restaurants and sports halls will remain closed even with an easing of rules for shops
  • Exemption forms (attestations de déplacement) will remain even beyond December 1
  • Economy. Mr Castex promised to continue providing “large-scale economic support to all the shops and businesses that have been forced to close."
  • In the last two months he said: “We have seen more than 10,000 additional deaths in France, one death in four is due to this disease today.” 
  • In the last few days there has been one hospitalisation every 30 seconds and one admission to intensive care every three minutes
  • 40% of the people admitted to the ICU are aged under 65
  • Economic activity could fall by at least 12% in November; this is three times less than in spring
  • In the next few days, each of the 800 university halls of residence in France will have two student representatives to help, in particular, first-year students or students in difficulty
  • There are 22% fewer commutes between homes and workplaces than in September
  • Long-distance train journeys fell by 85%
  • Domestic air travel is at 10% of normal capacity
  • 45% of private employees worked at home last week for an average of 3.7 days per week. "But there is still room for improvement," Mr Castex said.
  • The peak of the second wave could be reached early next week
  • Mr Castex indicated that he had asked the labour minister to suggest to social partners to renew the system of entitlement to unemployment insurance for the unemployed who are currently at the end of their period of entitlement during the period of lockdown
  • The  basic reproduction number (R0) of the virus has fallen below 1, to between 0.8 and 0.9. The R0 of an infection can be thought of as the expected number of cases directly generated by one case in a population, where all individuals are susceptible to infection.
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