Self-isolating for a few days and here we are, already thinking about the highly anticipated lockdown exit. Initially, the new nationwide lockdown in France is implemented until December 15, 2020 at least, including progressive easing until late January 2021. According to news collected by Europe 1, the government may be actually considering to implement a general lockdown for 8 to 12 weeks.
So far, no one knows how long lockdown part 2 will last. It will all depend on how the health situation evolves in France.
A new curfew already planned?
What is next? How would the post-lockdown process look like? As stated by Ouest-France, the latest Scientific Committee, gathered by Emmanuel Macron, gives a few leads on the matter. The 37-page document tells what could happen in the country until Spring 2021, specifically with a new curfew implemented.
“This lockdown could be followed, depending on the results, by a health curfew period, that would protect some of the economic and social activities more than lockdown, yet limiting the epidemic’s harmful effects”, the Scientific Committee writes.
Curfew has been announced starting December 15 by President Macron. This Thursday December 10, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced it will be made even stricter, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. instead of 9p.m.-7a.m., as it was first planned. But how long could this likely curfew be? For now, until late January, including the possible reopening of bars and restaurants. But nothing on the matter has been announced yet.
What about Christmas and the Holidays?
Could trips planned for the traditional Christmas celebrations and Holidays be limited? Despite lockdown announced by Jean Castex, the exemption for New Year's Eve has been cancelled. No restrictions will be set for December 24 on Christmas Eve. And trips between regions are possible.
Back to early November, the Scientific Committee explained limiting trips is not useful “so far” since “the epidemic is too far advanced and spread in the country for this measure to get a noticeable impact on the control of contaminations”. The spread of the disease has not changed since then.
As for Health Minister Olivier Véran, he said this November 1 in the Journal du Dimanche that Christmas “will not be a normal celebration”. Same call for the French President who said in his latest address “we will see if we can hope and celebrate with our families this oh-so precious moment Christmas and the Holidays are”. Once again, it will entirely depend on the health situation in the country at that very moment.
A likely third wave?
Several weeks ago, many experts agree to say the second coronavirus wave will be harder than the first one. The Scientific Committee also says France will experience many months “in an extremely situation”. This third wave is feared by scientists. They say it could occur from January, or later, depending on the evolution of the epidemic.
They also predict this second wave will not be the last. “We can see several successive waves during winter/spring 2021, depending on different elements: climate state, operational level and effectiveness of the testing/tracking/isolating (positive cases) strategy” the document reads. Consequences? The government will have to face “the managing of successive resurging waves” of the coronavirus epidemic, “until the first vaccines and/or cures arrive” and they are about to.
But then how to manage these likely successive episodes of the epidemic? Several possibilities, once again brought forward by the Scientific Committee saying: “We can consider a on/off style strategy” with periods of restrictions and slackening. But as experts say, are French ready to accept such a strategy?
Another option? Learning something from what have done several countries “several countries in Asia, Denmark, Finland and Germany […] and keep the virus at a rate” below 5000 Covid-19 cases per day. “This strategy implies strong and mature measures every time the epidemic surges” the Committee concludes. A strategy already set up by the government, but unsuccessful so far (hence the stricter measures).