Despite the various health measures taken in France for several months already, the epidemiological situation is still worrying in France. In an attempt, as much as possible, to limit the spread of the coronavirus on his territory, President Macron convened a Defense and Security Council on Wednesday. This Thursday at 6 p.m., Prime Minister Jean Castex was responsible for presenting the various decisions taken during this Council.
“The virus continues to circulate actively throughout Europe,” Castex said straight away. “Faced with this situation, all countries have taken measures to contain the epidemic. France has made a double choice: not to wait to decide on an appropriate containment, which we did at the end of the month of October, as well as not to lift our measures prematurely, ”he continued.
Castex then stressed that the end of year celebrations had not allowed an “epidemic outbreak”.
“Our situation nevertheless remains worrying and fragile, even if it is under control”, declared the Prime Minister.
If the situation is “fragile”, it is in particular because of the new variants identified on the French territory, affirmed Jean Castex, before Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health, details the characteristics of the British and South African variants . According to Olivier Véran, the new British variant is notably more contagious in children. Faced with these two new threats, Jean Castex affirmed that it was imperative to “do everything” to prevent their spread.
Reinforced border controls
“This situation therefore leads us to take additional measures”, detailed Castex. “We are going to tighten significantly the conditions of entry into the territory”, announced the Prime Minister.
People who want to enter France from countries outside the EU will have to present a negative PCR test before entering the territory and quarantine themselves for 7 days. They will also have to retest after isolation.
Emergency restriction measures will also be put in place in Guyana as well as in Mayotte and Réunion to protect them from the variants circulating in these regions.
In Guyana, “border control will be reinforced and negative tests will be required” to reach the Antilles and the metropolis. Likewise, “negative tests will be required for flights from Mayotte or Reunion”.
National curfew at 6 p.m.
In addition, the curfew will apply from 6 p.m. nationwide from this Saturday January 16, for at least 15 days. “While the epidemic recovery was concentrated at the end of December on certain departments, viral circulation now concerns the entire territory”, explained Jean Castex. This 6 p.m. curfew was already in effect in 25 French departments. The very limited exemptions will be the same as those already in effect: returning from work, taking your children back to the nursery …
All shops and places open to the public will be closed at 6 p.m.
“As I speak to you, the epidemic situation does not require that we impose a new containment”, then specified the Prime Minister. “But we must prepare for all eventualities, especially in the event of severe epidemic deterioration.”
Schools always open
Unlike other countries, France wants to do everything not to close its schools, said Jean Castex. Kindergartens and primary schools will remain open, as will the majority of middle schools. In high schools, teaching will always be in hybrid mode, half face-to-face and the other half remote. The final year students, presenting the baccalaureate at the end of the year, will have priority.
Indoor sports, in schools or out of school, are also suspended, said Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, “for a few weeks probably”.
In higher education, courses will always be given at a distance. The tutorials may be repeated in half-groups for first year students. This measure may be extended to other years if the epidemiological situation allows it.