Macron tries to slow down Delta variant and boost vaccines | Economic news
By ANGELA CHARLTON, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) – Is the French summer already over?
Just three days ago, the country opened its nightclubs for the first time in 16 months, completing a prolonged national effort to get back to normal before the pandemic just in time for summer recess. But with the delta variant now causing resurgent infections, potential new restrictions are emerging.
President Emmanuel Macron holds a high-level meeting on virus safety on Monday morning and then delivers a televised speech in the evening, the kind of solemn speech he has given at every turn of the virus outbreak in France.
This time around, he is expected to announce plans for a law requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated, and may require special COVID-19 passes for restaurants or other daily activities.
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Other possibilities: a return to the limits of the number of people allowed in public places who just woke up in May after one of the longest closures in the world. Or an announcement that France could start charging money for certain virus tests, which until now have been free for everyone in France.
Any new measure should be relatively gentle for now, but aimed at reminding the French that the pandemic is not yet over.
“We have to live with the virus,” European Minister Clément Beaune said on Sunday. “Living with the virus means we’re not closing everything. “
The government’s main weapon, and its main concern, are vaccinations. France has vaccinated 40% of its population and vaccines are widely available for anyone 12 years of age and older. But demand has declined in recent weeks – partly because of reluctance and also because some people thought they would get the shot when they returned from vacation.
Meanwhile, French restaurants and bars are thriving again, the Tour de France draws tight crowds across the country, and Hollywood stars pose arm in arm and maskless on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. Kisses on the cheeks are making a comeback.
As the La Bellevilloise nightclub reopened in eastern Paris on Friday, the owner braced for the possibility that the party would be short-lived. But the clubbers were delighted to rediscover the dance scene.
The Parisian Laurent Queige described it as “liberation, an immense happiness”. Club host Sophie Anne Descoubès said she was impressed by the rigor with which the club checked her QR code showing that she had either been fully vaccinated or freshly tested, saying: “I have no apprehension, just great joy and the desire to trample.
Viral infections in France started to increase again two weeks ago and the SOS Médecins health service recorded a slight increase in the demand for emergency treatment against viruses. The number of people in French hospitals and intensive care units has been declining for weeks, but doctors predict it will also increase in the coming weeks when the rise in delta variant infections hits vulnerable populations, such as in Grande -Brittany and Spain.
Meanwhile, Macron is also meeting with figures from the auto industry on Monday as he tries to combine his virus warnings with a message of hope for one of the world’s largest economies. New infections threaten France’s very important tourism industry and Macron’s ambitious economic stimulus plan, just nine months before the next presidential election.
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