During his address on November 24, 2020 the French President asked the government and the Parliament to think about a method to compel people contaminated to self-isolate at home. A measure expected to stop the spread of the epidemic, and that could enable to no longer put the entire county in lockdown for a long period of time.
“I wish the government and Parliament to plan conditions to make sure people contaminated can remain self-isolated, including more constraining ways” Emmanuel Macron said during his televised address. “A real democratic debate has to occur. If we want to avoid a lockdown, we must be more restrictive towards those contaminated by the virus” he said.
This November 25, an Agir group deputy answered Mr. Macron’s call. Haut-Rhin MEP Olivier Bercht submitted a bill presenting an action scheme to isolate sick and to “test, isolate and treat to make it out of the health crisis”.
Le Point quotes the MEP justifying his bill with the necessity to end with lockdown: “The stop-and-go strategy – consisting in alternating lockdown and lockdown exit periods – is psychologically, socially, economically and financially not bearable” Becht explains.
Parliamentary Agir group president wishes to recreate the strategies used in Taiwan and South Korea: “In both these countries – that are democratic and rightful – the death toll has been very low ever since the pandemic broke out: seven dead in Taiwan, 400 dead in South Korea – which population is roughly the same as France’s. What have they done? They instated the “testing, isolating, treating” strategy very strictly”.
With this process, the deputy promises a new lockdown could be avoided and speaks about “freeing the 67 million French [to] take care of the 10,000 people infected daily for 7 to 10 days”.
Olivier Becht presents a complete program: he wishes to hold a massive screening campaign and force people infected with the virus to self-isolate, so would contact-cases. Quarantine would last 14 days maximum and people isolated could enjoy a “health point of contact”. This point of contact would help people isolated who need external help: “Today, many people break quarantine because they have no other choice: if you are alone with children, you need to go grocery shopping, to get your medicine. The population has to rally” the deputy argues.
The bill also plans sanctions in case the quarantine is violated: the MEP thinks about a fine for class V minor offence (naming €1,500, that could increase up to €3,000 in case of repeated offence). In return, the bill would create an exceptional financial bonus up to €30 per day for people forced to self-isolate.
Not sure this bill is to pass. Back to this past spring, the Constitutional Council already rejected the government’s idea to isolate people sick. According to the institution, forcing people to stay isolate at home over 12 hours a day equates to detention. The process would have to be supervised by a judge of freedoms. The question is now if the exceptional health situation will make the Council change their minds.