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HEALTH

France’s 6pm curfew ‘counters the apéro effect’, says leader of Macron’s party

An earlier curfew of 6pm - which could be extended to cover the whole of France in this evening's government announcement - is useful to 'counter the apéro effect' says the leader of Emmanuel Macron's party.

France's 6pm curfew 'counters the apéro effect', says leader of Macron's party
The apéro is a big part of French culture but it doesn't really have its own Metro station, this was an April Fool. Photo: AFP

Among the measures floated to try to avert a much-feared third wave of infections include expanding a 6pm curfew currently in place in 25 départements in the east to the whole country.

Most of France is still subject to an 8pm-6am curfew imposed in mid-December when a second national lockdown was lifted.

Bringing it forward by two hours would stall the “apéro effect”, said the leader of President Emmanuel Macron's Republic on the Move party, Stanislas Guerini, referring to the French tradition of meeting up for a pre-dinner drink.

 

France on Wednesday recorded around 23,000 new cases of Covid-19, around half the number detected in Britain on the same day but still far above the 5,000 figure the government had been aiming for by mid-December.

“About a third of the infections are in social groups and the family circle. 

“It is certain that when you impact the social effect, you impact the progression of the virus, and this is particularly useful with this new variant.

“Moving the curfew to 6pm stalls the apéro effect.”

The earlier curfew has been in place in some départements since January 2nd, but health experts say it is too early to say whether it has had an effect on flattening infection rates.

“Whether or not it works, we will see,” French Health Minister Olivier Véran said.

He said: “What I know is that in all the departments which have adopted this measure, with 10 days of hindsight, the incidence rate is 16 percent, while the others have an increase of 43 percent.

“In the Grand Est region, there really is a difference with neighbouring departments.”

Véran also announced plans for mass testing of schoolchildren and teachers following preliminary findings that the new variant spreads more easily among children than previous strains.

“We have established a protocol that aims to test up to a million children and teachers per month,” he said, adding that children as young as six could be tested.

Véran said that, unlike Britain, France had no plans to close schools “at this stage” but said the government might reconsider if the share of infections caused by the mutated strain grew.

On Tuesday, he told a Senate commission that the new variant accounted for about 1 percent of infections.

The French prime minister will lead a press conference on Thursday at 6pm laying out new restrictions for the country.

READ ALSO What can we expect from Thursday's announcement?

Among the ideas being suggested are an extension of the curfew, a weekend lockdown or local lockdowns and increased restrictions in schools.

We will be following the press conference live here.

 

Member comments

  1. What planet are these people from? Get the travel restrictions back and stop trying to be a comedian you are obviously not cut out for it.

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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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