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HEALTH

Calendar: The next key dates in France’s timetable for Covid-19 restrictions

The French government has revised its timetable for reopening bars and restaurants, ski resorts, cinemas as well as lifting curfew. These are the dates to look out for.

Calendar: The next key dates in France's timetable for Covid-19 restrictions
An empty ski lift hangs over a slope in the Courchevel ski resort in the French Alps. Photo: AFP

French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday said the Covid-19 health situation did not permit lifting the current restrictions in place in France.

“We cannot lower our guard,” Castex said, in yet another live press conference where he and the health minister, Olivier Véran, detailed the road ahead. “It is out of the questions that we lift restrictions,” he said.

So here is what is happening instead:

January 11th – A 6pm – 6am curfew enters into effect in 10 extra départments if the government deems it necessary. There are already 15 départements – all in eastern France – under the earlier curfew while the rest of France is under a 8pm – 6am curfew.

January 20th – this was originally set to be the date that bars, cafés, restaurants and gyms could reopen, but the prime minister said this will no longer happen.

Instead, January 20th will be the day when the government reassesses the situation for all activities that at present have to keep closed. This includes bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums and other cultural establishments, gyms and ski resorts.

The government's original target was to have cases at 5,000 a day before reopening these activities. Case numbers are currently around 15,000 a day.

January 20th – this is also the date when the current nationwide 8pm to 6am curfew runs out, so the government will have to decide whether to extend it or not. Also on the schedule is the restarting of full-time in-person teaching in lycées, and then 15 days later in universities. At present both lycées and universities are doing a mixture of online and in-person teaching, while universities are limited to 50 percent capacity in lecture halls.

Early February – Ski resorts might be able to reopen if the Covid-19 situation has improved. At present the mountainous areas in the east are particularly hard hit by the virus. Winter sports businesses have been promised a decision by January 20th on whether they can reopen for the crucial February school holiday period.

Early February – Cinemas, theatres, museums and other cultural establishment could get to reopen as well if the health situation looks promising enough.

Mid February – This is when the government is envisaging a possible reopening of restaurants and bars, as well as gyms. Again, this will be dependent on how the virus evolves.

February 16th, 2021 – The current State of Health Emergency runs out.

The official state of emergency does not in itself have any effect on regulations, but the designation allows the government to impose sweeping restrictions on daily life – such as lockdown – and also reduces the need for parliamentary debate. If the French parliament agrees, the emergency designation can be extended from this date.

READ ALSO What does it mean that France has extended its State of Health Emergency?

 

 

Member comments

  1. Pathetic. So from December 15th it all kicks off again like it did in July and August. The current restrictions should be kept in pl;ace at least until March with just shops opening.

  2. Yes. Sadly, lockdown and travel restrictions have proved to be the best reducer of contagion. Until full vaccine rollout, they’re the only weapons in the box…

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STRIKES

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

General practitioners in France are planning another industrial action that will see doctors' offices closed as they call for better investment in community healthcare.

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

Primary care doctors in France announced plans to strike again in February, after walkouts in December and over the Christmas-New Year holidays in early January.

The strike will take place on Tuesday, February 14th, and it comes just a few weeks ahead of the end-of-February deadline where France’s social security apparatus, Assurance Maladie, must reach an agreement to a structure for fees for GPs for the next five years.

Hospital doctors in France are largely barred from striking, but community healthcare workers such as GPs are self-employed and therefore can walk out. 

Their walk-out comes amid mass strike actions in February over the French government’s proposed pension reform. You can find updated information on pensions strikes HERE.

Previous industrial action led to widespread closures of primary care medical offices across the country. In December, strike action saw between 50 to 70 percent of doctor’s surgeries closed.

READ MORE: Urgent care: How to access non-emergency medical care in France

New concerns among GPs

According to reporting by La Depeche, in the upcoming strike in February primary care doctors will also be walking out over a new fear – the possibility of compulsory ‘on-call’ hours.

Currently, French GPs take on-call hours on a voluntary basis. Obligatory on-call time for primary care doctors was scrapped in the early 2000s after GPs mobilised against the requirement.

However, representatives from the Hospital Federation have called for it to be reinstated in order to help relieve emergency services.

Additionally, GPs are calling for Saturday shifts to considered as part of their standard working week, in order to allow for a two-day weekend.

Striking primary care doctors are more broadly calling for actions by the government and Assurance Maladie to help make the field more appealing to younger physicians entering the profession, as the country faces more medical deserts, and for working conditions to be improved.

Those walking out hope to see administrative procedures to be simplified and for the basic consultation fee – typically capped to €25 – to be doubled to €50.

In France patients pay the doctor upfront for a visit, and then a portion of the fee is reimbursed by the government via the carte vitale health card.

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