Public Policy Dynamics France #8
Health and Politics in France
|Total COVID-19 cases:||5,289,526|
|14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:||693.8|
|Total COVID-19 deaths:||100,762|
- With the presidential elections only one year away, left-wing political parties are attempting to get organised. A cross left-wing party meeting was held on 17 April to discuss the presentation of a single presidential candidate for the left. The Parliament has definitely voted for the regional elections to be held in June of this year, putting an end to the uncertainties of the campaign.
- The Ministry of Health continues to implement its plan for public hospitals started in the summer of 2020. €740 million have been allocated to raise salaries of healthcare professionals.
- The Government has announced its intention to ease lockdown measures starting mid-May to reactivate economic activities which had been paused since the beginning of the pandemic. The Johnson & Johnson will begin to be administered on 24 April.
- In response to a unifying call by Green MEP Yannick Jadot, leaders of left-wing and green parties met on 17 April to discuss a possible union of the left to present a single candidate for the next presidential election. With total voting intentions for all left-wing parties combined being at 26%, the presentation of a single candidate seems crucial to face the right-wing candidates.
- While the Socialist Party is very enthusiastic about this idea, this is not the case for other parties that already have their presidential candidate. The PCF is set to be represented by Fabien Roussel, and LFI by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who himself already gathers 10-13% of voting intentions. In addition, the spokesperson of the EELV party Julien Bayou recalls the holding of presidential primaries in September, which should designate an EELV candidate for the presidential elections.
- Following a statement by the Prime Minister Jean Castex, who confirmed the dates of 20 and 27 June announced the day before in front of the deputies, the Senate gave its support to the Government's choice to maintain the regional and departmental elections in June, with a shift of one week, by 319 votes for and only 8 against. The one-week shift should give more time for both vaccination and electoral campaigns and ensure the best possible organisation of the elections, in the most secure sanitary conditions.
- The Minister of Health Olivier Véran on Monday 12 April announced, at a meeting of the Ségur health monitoring committee, a new stage in the plan for hospitals launched by the Government in the summer of 2020. The paramedical staff of the hospital civil service will see their salary scales revised upwards from 1 October 2021. 500,000 nurses, nursing assistants, health managers, medical and rehabilitation professionals, as well as childcare assistants are affected.
- This increase should make it possible to "give prospects to carers already in the health system", according to the Minister of Health's office, but also to "improve the attractiveness of these professions", for which hospitals often struggle to recruit. A budget of €740 million has been earmarked for the full year to implement the measure - including €200 million for 2021, with application starting in October.
- Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that school lessons will resume next Monday, 26 April. "We are convinced that the damage caused by the prolonged closure of schools is catastrophic," the prime minister said. A new very strict health protocol will be accompanied by a reinforced system of 400,000 saliva tests and a large-scale deployment of 64 million self-tests in schools. Secondary schools will reopen remotely on 26 April, then face-to-face on Monday 3 May. Classes will however be closed at the first case of Covid-19 detected.
- Limitations on daytime travel, notably the 10-kilometre perimeter around the home and inter-regional travel, will also be lifted on 3 May, the prime minister confirmed. Castex also mentioned a "new reopening plan in mid-May, which could start with shops, certain cultural and sports activities and terraces".
- 14 million people will soon have received a first dose of vaccine, i.e. a quarter of the adult population, Castex said. "70% of our fellow citizens aged over 75 and 70% of our health professionals have received a first dose," he said.
- Johnson & Johnson's vaccine will begin to be administered in France from Saturday 24 April, announced Health Minister Olivier Véran.