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Letter from... Paris

30 June 2020

By Ulysse Avrane
Junior Consultant, CLAI (part of SEC Newgate)

Since the last letter, there has been a big drop in the number of new daily cases of coronavirus across France. Along with this decline, there has been an increase in the number of new tests being done and the number of patients who have recovered from the disease.

After a 2 month long lockdown between March and May, which affected both small businesses and big businesses in all sectors, the deconfinement started with a government plan focused around 3 phases.  Thanks to the measures taken – safety protocol, physical distancing and masks - the speed of transmission of the coronavirus has clearly slowed down in France.

During the first phase, people were required to move as little as possible and only permitted to leave their homes for job purposes or to go to the grocery store. In early June, the French Prime Minister declared the start of the second phase of deconfinement, which included a lot of new updates. Even though the safety protocol and physical distancing measures were – and are – still in order, the country really started to live again. Shops, bars, parks and restaurants as well as movie theaters re-opened. Social distancing means however that museums and nightclubs remain closed. Still, the country is thankfully starting to breath freely again.

Tele-commuting decreased with people starting to go back to offices. However, not everything is back to normal, wearing a mask is still mandatory on public transport or otherwise risks the penalty of a heavy fine. The elderly and the disabled are also still required to stay home.

Government measures have significantly reduced the new cases of covid-19 despite some setbacks. Recently a smartphone application called « STOP COVID » developed by the government made a flop as almost nobody downloaded it for fear that the data recovered would be kept by the government or because they thought that it would be useless.

Today, concern is building over a possible second wave during Autumn. To overcome this, the Government intends to set up a huge test campaign in Paris and its suburbs (where some clusters have been identified) as well as the preparation of new hospital beds and more drugs for the people most affected. We are not out of the woods yet.