Emmanuel Macron crisis: Rivals round on French President over ‘absurd’ new rules

Grant Shapps discusses France’s Covid-19 vaccine

From Saturday, a new 12-hour curfew will be enforced and will run from 6pm until 6am. The draconian measures will last for at least a fortnight and is an extension on the 8pm-6am housebound restrictions announced in December. Across the country, people must return to their homes by 6pm, unless they travelling home from school or work.

All businesses will have to close their doors by 6pm – with the exception of emergency services.

The drastic measures were announced on Thursday evening and have been condemned by some of Mr Macron’s fiercest rivals.

Several high profile politicians have accused the French President of losing the trust of the French people.

Meanwhile, others claim the “unjustified” curfew is “absolute nonsense” and insist Mr Macron’s government is “disconnected from reality”.

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Julien Odoul, leader of the National Rally group in the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté regional assembly, said: “The 6pm curfew is a very bad solution in the government’s list of bad solutions.

“This is economically absurd and scientifically unreliable… this curfew has not reduced the number of hospitalisations.”

Jerome Riviere, National Rally MEP said: “How can we trust a government that has managed the crisis so badly for a year?

“This 6pm curfew is a real house arrest for all French people.”

Catherine Griset, MEP for the far-right group Identity and Democracy, warned firms could go under and claimed the curfew was not based on scientific data.

She said: “The general curfew at 6pm is absolute nonsense: our traders, already severely affected, will once again suffer serious losses.

“The government continues to take absurd, arbitrary and scientifically unjustified measures!”

Nicolas Bay MEP and General Secretary of the National Rally said the curfew did not fit in with French culture.

He said: “I don’t know what world they live in, but for a majority of French people, at 6pm, we pick up our children, we go shopping and more, if we get out of work early enough.

“Macron’s government is completely disconnected from reality!”

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced the measures on Thursday and described the coronavirus situation as “worrying” with infections remaining at a “high plateau”.

France has the seventh-highest death toll in the world with more than 69,000 COVID-19 fatalities.


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Mr Castex warned additional restrictions would be imposed “without delay” if infection rates did not come down.

He added all people travelling to France from outside the European Union will have to show a negative COVID-19 test and self-isolate for a week upon arrival from Monday.

In the latest 24 hour period, France recorded 21,228 new COVID-19 cases and 282 deaths.

Since the start of the pandemic, 2,851,670 people have tested positive for the virus and 69,313 have died in France.

The number of patients admitted to intensive care also increased by 15 to 2,726, while the total number of people hospitalised with the disease was up by 248 to 25,017.

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