Deconfinement in France: the government’s different scenarios

Published by Caroline de Sortiraparis · Photos by My de Sortiraparis · Published on April 8th, 2020 at 12:12 p.m.
When and how will deconfinement happen in France? This is the question everyone is asking while confinement is said to be extended, at least until April 15th, 2020. Heard during a fact-finding mission of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the end of confinement will surely not happen “in one go, everywhere and for everyone”.

Wednesday April 1st, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Health Minister Olivier Véran have been heard by about forty MEPs as of the management of the health crisis hitting France for weeks.

Questioned about lifting confinement in the country, PM said it was “likely” that deconfinement in France will not happen “in one go, everywhere and for everyone” before adding “we’ve asked several teams to work on that matter studying the opportunity, the feasibility of a deconfinement on a regional-basis that will be subject to a testing policy (…) according, who knows, to age categories”.

Lifting confinement would be very complicated. Still on that matter, Edouard Philippe has said that “talks about deconfinement will have to take place” and “will have to take health priorities into account”. He hopes he will be able to present a calendar “within the next few days or week to give perspective” to citizens.

The government works on different scenarios

On another press address, on April 1st, 2020, spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye confirmed the government “is working on different deconfinement scenarios”. “What is sure is that we still have scientific data to collect (…), that will enlighten us” she added, explaining the government first have to make sure the “epidemic is dwindling”.

As for deconfinement strategies, they could be related to the “degree of immunity in the overall population” assessed with the very awaited serological tests. “We have to look at the protection means and the organization to resume work, supposing that a massive work return is needed (…) and we also have to look at the evolution of the epidemic elsewhere” the government spokesperson added.

Confinement lifted in Denmark and Austria

If France has talked about lifting the deconfinement by region and by age group, Austria presented on April 6 a plan softening restrictions against Covid-19 with a "gradual resume" starting from April 14. Deconfinement will start with the reopening of small stores, then other stores in early May and restaurants in Mid-May. Yet, the country doesn't expect to authorize cultural events or any public gatherings before July, at least.

Moving on to Denmark, they have planned to reopen daycares, kindergartens, and elementary schools starting from APril 15th, followed by junior high schools and high schools on May 10th. The rest, such as bars, restaurants, hair salons and even  night clubs will remain shut down.

French confined since March 17th

For the record, France has been into lockdown since March 17th. A confinement many French people have a hard time respecting. On Wednesday April 1st, 2020, Secretary of the Interior Christophe Castaner warned French as of Easter break starting on April 4th in the C zone. “In very concrete words, you shall not go on vacations during confinement” he explained.

In Paris and Île-de-France, confinement measures are hard to respect for some people. Since the beginning of the confinement, Police Prefect Didier Lallement has ordered several decrees banning all gatherings by the Seine, the pitches of the Esplanade des Invalides and the of the Champ-de-Mars, as well as front stands on rue Poncelet, rue de Lévis and on rue Daguerre, or even the restriction of food store activities in the Château Rouge neighborhood. Recently, the Police authorities have banned the access to several areas in the Boulogne and Vincennes woods.

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