During his address on November 24, 2020 Emmanuel Macron presented the multi-step lockdown exit strategy. The second step – expected to begin on December 15, 2020 – is to mark the end of lockdown and the lift of moving restrictions, the reopening of cultural places and the implementation of a curfew. Yet, the date of the beginning of the second step is exceptional: nothing could be possible on December 15 if France does not reach more acceptable contamination thresholds.
In concrete words, the President has set as a condition to lockdown exit lower contamination threshold: naming 5,000 cases per day including at the same time a level of people in intensive care units between 2,500 and 3,000 patients. A level France is getting slowly closer to, two weeks before the second step. As of December 9, France reported 14,595 new cases, and 3,000 people in ICU as of December 10.
Emmanuel Macron was very clear during his address on November 24: "On December 15, if we made it to 5,000 cases per day and around 2,500 to 3,000 people in intensive care, we can move on. And then lockdown could be lifted". In other words, if data are not to improve by then, this decision could be reassessed.
As the goals are not met before Christmas break, the government has decided to postpone the reopening of cultural places to January 7, 2021. A hard blow, for the population and every other sectors impatiently waiting to be allowed to resume work.
Lockdown exit to go on as a minimum?
Health director general Jérôme Salomon has held a press brief this Monday December 7, 2020 at 6 p.m. and confirmed "We are still far from the goal to go below 5,000 cases per day in France". Yet, he did not give further details on the measures the government could consider to make to curb the spread.
Even though for now "lockdown exit" is not reassessed, the reopening of museums, theaters and movie theaters is postponed to January 7, 2021. In concrete words, starting December 15, 2020, people can go out again without a derogatory trip certificate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. But they will have to go back home for 8 p.m. for curfew.
The government's main goal is to save the Holidays and Christmas with one's families, at the cost of the New Year's Eve. Therefore, even though on December 24, the French will be allowed to move as they wish to, celebrations on December 31 will be dramatically limited.
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