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HEALTH

Coronavirus: France continues to see fall in daily death toll and hospital patient numbers

France on Tuesday reported 531 deaths from Covid19 in 24 hours as the number of people in hospital and intensive care continued to decline.

Coronavirus: France continues to see fall in daily death toll and hospital patient numbers
The numbers of coronavirus patients in French hospitals have been falling steadily. Photo: AFP

The daily tally – 387 deaths in hospital and 144 in nursing homes – brought France's total epidemic death toll to 20,796, France's Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon told reporters.

There were 30,106 infected people in hospital, he said – a daily decline of 478 in an encouraging downward trend.

READ ALSO Coronavirus situation in France 'is under control' says Prime Minister

Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon. Photo: AFP

There were also 250 fewer people in intensive care – a crucial marker of epidemic decline – for a total of 5,433, Salomon said. This represented the 13th day of decline in a row.

The total tally included 12,900 people who died in hospital and 7,896 in nursing homes.

Salomon said the epidemic remained active in France, adding “we must remain fully mobilised.”

France has been in lockdown since March 17th in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic. President Emmanuel Macron announced last week that the lockdown will be progressively lifted from May 11th.

Schools could gradually reopen then but cafes, cinemas and cultural venues would remain closed, and there could be no summer festivals until mid-July at the earliest.

READ ALSO 'Living with the virus' – this is the plan for life after lockdown in France

 

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  1. My name is Steven, Iam an american that lives in southern Calif. 6 months of the year and 6 months in Normandie, Fr. I signed up and paid as a member 1 month ago, but quite often as I begin to read an article it is blanked out and tells me my reading time is up and I need to become a member, why?

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POLITICS

‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief. 

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