| 9 December 2023, Saturday |

France’s Macron to speak on Friday about easing of COVID restrictions

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex affirmed that the coronavirus situation is improving in France and President Emmanuel Macron will outline on Friday how restrictions will be progressively relaxed.

The government also plans to replace from June 2 the current state of health emergency – which gives officials greater power to impose tough measures to contain the spread of the virus – with a “transition regime” that will run until Oct. 31.

This is to retain leeway to react swiftly if health conditions were to deteriorate as France exits its lockdown, he told reporters following a cabinet meeting.

France, the euro zone’s second biggest economy, started its third national lockdown at the end of March after suffering a spike in COVID-19 deaths and case numbers.

President Emmanuel Macron is hoping the lockdown, along with an accelerated vaccination campaign, will improve France’s COVID-19 figures which would then allow certain businesses and leisure activities – such as outdoor dining – to reopen in mid-May.

“The epidemic situation continues to improve at a regular pace. Virus circulation remains high but is on a real downward trend even though its impact on hospitalization is limited, notably on the number of people in intensive care units,” Castex said.

  • Reuters