Macron to address nation on Tuesday as Covid-19 cases rise

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French President Emmanuel Macron will speak to the nation on Tuesday about the resurgence of COVID-19 infections as well as his economic reform agenda, the government said on Friday.

Infection rates have accelerated sharply over the past month, with the number of new COVID-19 cases increasing by double-digit percentages from last week for several consecutive days.

“The epidemic is picking up speed in Europe, Europe has once again become the epicenter of the epidemic,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters.

The seven-day average of new daily infections now stands at more than 6,200, down from less than 4,200 in early October.

Attal said Macron would review the COVID-19 situation and also talk about the country’s economic recovery, the government’s reform program and other issues. Macron’s office said the speech would take place on Tuesday.

Macron’s last big televised speech took place on July 12 at the start of a fourth wave of infections. He then announced that vaccinations would be mandatory for all health workers.

French epidemiologists recently suggested expanding the scope of the vaccine recall campaign to new categories.

On Wednesday, the government said face masks would be mandatory again from next week for schoolchildren in 39 regional departments where infection rates are high.

Prime Minister Jean Castex, meanwhile, said the national incidence rate – the number of new infections per week per 100,000 population – was now well above the alert level of 50.

“It’s not an explosion, but it requires the greatest vigilance. Now is not the time to let our guard down, “he said.

The average weekly incidence rate peaked in 2021 at 438 in April, then fell below 20 in late June following a series of containment measures.

It climbed back to 247 at the height of the fourth wave in mid-August. After briefly falling below the alert level of 50 in early October, the trend reversed again on October 21 and the incidence rate stood at 65 on Thursday.

(REUTERS)

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