Despite the start of the school year, the Covid-19 epidemic is calming down in France. President Emmanuel Macron therefore promises to think about relaxing the restrictions, starting with the application of the health pass, but he remains very cautious for the time being. “As soon as the sanitary conditions allow it and, in my opinion, when I see the figures, it will not come so late”, we will be able to “allow, in the territories where the virus circulates less quickly, to remove certain constraints and to relive normally”, declared Thursday, September 16 the head of state.
The start of the school year promised to be uncertain and even risky. The summer was marked by the spread of the Delta variant, which is much more contagious and resistant to vaccines than its predecessors, even if the latter remain very effective against severe forms. Like other countries, France has experienced a “fourth wave” at the beginning of the summer, with a clear resumption of contaminations, including in people already vaccinated against Covid. With the return to school and the return to work of many employees, one could fear that the outbreak would continue.
But this has actually weakened. Since mid-August, contaminations have receded and, more importantly, hospitalizations in critical care, which had increased but remained limited, in turn began to decline. The situation is “significantly improved”, summarized Thursday the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, preceding by a few hours of the similar remarks of Emmanuel Macron. Another relief for the government, the health system has, for the time being, hardly suffered from the entry into force of compulsory vaccination for caregivers on Wednesday, while some observers feared mass exclusions.
In this context, the State, and first and foremost the President of the Republic, begins to wave the promise of a relaxation of health restrictions, including the most emblematic of recent months: the health pass required in many places, such as the restaurants and cinemas. This pass proves that the client is vaccinated, has had a negative test or has already been affected by Covid-19 and is therefore immune. Emmanuel Macron said he was ready to “raise (…) in the places where it is put, where the virus hardly circulates any more”. “If I can stop the health pass tomorrow, I’m the happiest of men”, he insisted.
But the President of the Republic, who spoke at the meetings of the Union of local businesses (U2P), remains cautious and is careful not to give a precise deadline, claiming his “pragmatism”. He explicitly ruled out any lightening of the health pass over the next two to three weeks, echoing the cautious tone used a few hours earlier by his Minister of Health. “We are not yet in a situation which makes it possible to reduce” the “epidemic control measures” car “it would be a little too soon”, estimated Olivier Véran.