Politics

Emmanuel Macron is reconfiguring France: “Stay at home, respect the rules”

Tell the French the truth. Without procrastinating. At 8 p.m., this Wednesday, October 28, in a solemn speech on television, Emmanuel Macron put clear words on the threat. “We are overwhelmed by a second wave which will undoubtedly be harder and more murderous than the first,” he admitted, his voice deep. In question: a “sudden acceleration of the epidemic” of Covid-19 that “even the most pessimistic forecasts had not foreseen”. To put a “brutal brake on the tsunami”, the President of the Republic brought out the heavy artillery. “I decided that it was necessary to find, from Friday, the confinement which stopped the virus”. This term of “confinement”, the Head of State had not spoken on March 16, when he announced that France would be put under a bell. In practice, the new restrictions will last until “December 1 a minimum”. A tolerance will be observed for families returning from vacation this weekend.

VIDEO. Emmanuel Macron asks the French to re-define themselves

After Wales and Ireland, France is therefore the third European country to brandish new confinement. But this second episode will not look like the first, assures the head of state. In order not to block the economy while avoiding dropping out of school, nurseries, kindergartens, schools, colleges and high schools will remain open. Activity will continue in certain sectors, such as construction. The “public service counters” will remain accessible.

“Nothing is more important than human life”

For the rest, Emmanuel Macron bet on individual empowerment: “Stay at home as much as possible. Follow the rules. Success depends on the good citizenship of each and every one of us. Every hour counts, ”he said, in his address to the nation, recorded a few minutes before its broadcast and punctuated by infographics.

In order to take the French, these famous “refractory Gauls” with him, whom he used to mock, the Head of State played his cards on the table. From the Elysée village hall, his eyes fixed on the camera, he detailed the two alternative scenarios that he rejected. The first would have consisted in adopting the “strategy of collective immunity”, by letting the virus sweep over the population. Citing the calculations of the scientific council, he estimated the human price of this option at “400,000 additional deaths”. “France (will) never adopt it,” he vowed. The second option in his bag would have been to “confine the only people at risk”. Clearly, the elderly. No way. “Nothing is more important than human life,” he thundered. And to add: “This period is a revealing of what we are”.

In order not to sink into disaster, the Head of State urged the French to “hold out until the vaccine in the summer”. One way to open a window in this “endless day” … “We will see if we can hope to cultivate this precious moment of the end of the year holidays”, he blurted out.

Hours of discussions, and hesitation

If the announcements were clear, on the other hand, they will have given rise, upstream, to hours of reflection and… hesitation. It all started on Wednesday morning. Emmanuel Macron meets at the Elysee Palace for the second Defense Council of the week. Fourteen ministers take part in the discussion, including Sébastien Lecornu. The Minister of Overseas Territories intervenes by videoconference from New Caledonia. For two hours, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran continues to call for “braking measures” and to warn of the imminent end of “hospital capacity”. With Prime Minister Jean Castex, he defends a hard line, pleading for readable rules, with quick effects. The head of state seems at that time to lean for more flexibility. Behind closed doors, he then plans to grant many sectoral exemptions and expand the list of businesses classified as “essential”.

“It must be said that the president has been the subject of numerous direct solicitations from big bosses and professionals insisting on the economic impact”, advances a source at the heart of the matter. It will finally give up too broadening the list of essential sectors, while announcing a review clause in two weeks for businesses.

The question of schools, on the other hand, was the subject of broad unanimity at the top of the State. Only the opening of high schools fueled strong discussions. The Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer wishes to close some of these establishments, at the request of certain epidemiologists. But the Minister of Education does not succeed. It is noon. The plan of attack begins to take shape. Presented in broad outline on television by the president, it will be completed Thursday at 6.30 p.m. by Jean Castex, during a long-awaited press conference.

Original article by : www.leparisien.fr

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