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France went into lockdown again at the end of October and tight restrictions will remain in place until next month. Prime Minister Jean Castex warned it is still too early to ease the COVID-19 rules after 35,879 new cases reported yesterday took the country’s total to 1.86 million. The number of French deaths from COVID-19 also rose by 328 to reach a total of 42,535.
Lockdowns are a Middle Ages answer to pandemics
National Rally MEP Jerome Riviere hit out at the way Mr Macron’s government had attempted to tackle the crisis.
He tweeted: “Lockdowns are a Middle Ages answer to pandemics.
“Massive testing, isolation of the affected and treatment of the ill are the keys to Asian success.
“Taiwan (21 million inhabitants) no lockdown and 7 COVID-19 deaths or 400 in Korea, 107 in Hong Kong.”
Fellow National Rally MEP Jean-Lin Lacapelle accused the French President of failing to prepare for a second coronavirus wave.
He tweeted: “There has been no anticipation of a second wave from Emmanuel Macron and his government!”
But the Macron administration insists it has taken the right measures to contain the pandemic.
Mr Castex told Le Monde newspaper it was not the right time to relax restrictions.
The prime minister, who is due to deliver a major speech later today, said even though there were signs of a tapering in the COVID-19 figures “it is certainly not the moment to loosen the reins”.
But some politicians are hoping France may be able to re-open major shops and businesses for Christmas.
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told BFM Business radio: “What I wish is that we can save December for retailers.
“What will dictate the decision of the prime minister and of the president is the protection of the safety of the French population.”
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said there were three possible scenarios after lockdown, the first being that “the current rules are maintained as we know them today”.
He said: “The second is a possible hardening of the rules on certain points if necessary and finally, in the best case, a possible relaxation of the rules.”
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Bur Mr Attal warned “the situation remains serious” and that “the epidemic continues to gain ground”.
He said: “The reproduction rate of the virus, the famous R, is still above 1.
“The situation in our hospitals is extremely difficult and it will continue to be serious in the days to come.”
(Additional reporting by Maria Ortega)
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