Public Policy Dynamics France
Health and Politics in France
|Total COVID-19 cases:||2,851,670|
|14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:||329.21|
|Total COVID-19 deaths:||69,313|
- Parliamentary work resumed this week after the Christmas break. Several bills will be debated in the coming weeks, including one tabled by the Government which proposes to extend the state of health emergency until 1 June.
- The vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is following its course. The executive was heavily criticised for the slow pace of vaccine deployment. In recent days, however, vaccination campaigns have intensified, and France has now administered initial jabs to 318,000 people.
- New public health measures were announced on 14 January. While the figures have been relatively stable since the end of the second containment, fears of different variants have led the Government to take further action. A curfew now applies throughout the country from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to last for at least 15 days. Bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas, which were expected to reopen in January, will remain closed.
- Parliamentary work resumes this week following the Christmas vacation. Several bills will be debated in the coming weeks, including one tabled by the Government which proposes to extend the state of health emergency until 1 June. Due to the health context, many political reforms expected in the country, such as the pension reform or the "Grand Age et Autonomie" law, have been postponed. This was announced this week by several ministers. These measures were key elements of Emmanuel Macron's political program at the beginning of his mandate.
- The "One Planet Summit" on biodiversity was held last Monday (11 January) at the Elysée Palace in Paris. Established in 2017, this international initiative, led by Emmanuel Macron in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank, aims to accelerate the global transition to a more virtuous economy and place climate and nature at the centre of global recovery from COVID-19. In the current health context, this action has had great political significance for France, since the French President intends to lead a "green diplomacy" throughout the world. This event coincides in France at a time when many discussions - and criticisms - are taking place on the bill taking up the measures of the Citizen's Climate Convention, which is eagerly awaited in the country.
- Separately, two ministers are currently under investigation for "illegal taking of interest". This comes in a delicate political context, a year and a half before the presidential elections.
- The Social Security Financing Act was promulgated on 14 December. Now that this Act has been promulgated, its implementation schedule is awaited since it will make clear the next major health-related deadlines.
- The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, at the beginning of January announced a €60 million fund dedicated to psychiatry as part of the third circular relating to the 2020 pricing and budget campaign for healthcare institutions. €20 million will support 48 projects targeting child and adolescent mental health – this is the second edition of the call for projects launched in 2019. Nearly €30 million will strengthen the psychological support offer for the entire population, through the financing of two key measures. Visitations to people in psychological distress will be greatly expanded thanks to the reinforcement of the mobile psychiatry and precariousness teams (EMPP), to the tune of €10 million, as announced during the Ségur de la Santé. This support will enable the timely identification and care for people in distress, especially those on the street and in shelters or day care centres.
- In the health field, the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is mobilising much of the healthcare service. After a very slow start, the campaign is growing in strength and gradually expanding. The first doses of Moderna vaccine were delivered in the week of 11 January and are easing pressure in the regions worst affected by the epidemic. Vaccination is gradually expanding outside of retirement homes and the health professionals working in them, which were the first targets. Vaccination is now possible for all people over 75 years of age and those with high-risk pathologies.
- New social restrictions were announced on 14 January. While the figures have been relatively stable since the end of the second containment, fears of different variants have led the Government to take further action. A curfew now applies throughout the country from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and for at least 15 days. Bars, restaurants, theatres and cinemas, which were expected to reopen in January, will remain closed.
- According to Prime Minister Jean Castex, this decision is motivated by the good results of the curfew that has already been in place in 15 departments since 2 January. In these departments, the increase in the number of cases was two to three times less than in other metropolitan departments. Therefore, the Government decided to extend this measure to the all country. This is also a strategic measure to avoid a general lockdown, which is not currently an option. However, “we must be prepared for any eventuality", warned Castex: "If we see, in the next few days, a strong epidemic degradation, we would be led to decide without delay on a new lockdown.”
- As of Monday 18 January, travellers from outside the European Union will be required to present a negative PCR test to enter the country and make a sworn commitment to remain isolated for seven days. For travellers from EU countries, instructions will be given after the European Council of 21 January.