France, UK prepare to ease measures as Germany struggles to flatten curve

Madrid Desk, Nov 22 (efe-epa).- The leaders of France and the United Kingdom are expected to announce an easing of restrictions this week ahead of the Christmas holiday period, but cases in Germany, which has avoided a full lockdown to curb the second wave of the pandemic, remain too high as health authorities there continue to struggle to control infection rates.


French President Emmanuel Macron wants to provide “coherence” and “clarity” to his compatriots during a speech he is due to give to the nation on Tuesday, in which he will explain the next steps that the government will take toward easing the nationwide lockdown that is in place.

In a statement to the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday, Macron said that “there is nothing worse than uncertainty and the impression of endless gloom” after the series of measures taken over the last month to curb the second wave of the disease.

“We need coherence, clarity, direction. Knowing together where we are going and how we will get there,” Macron said, adding that this was “the key to confidence, which itself is the key to success.”

But the president pointed out that “it will be difficult, because the pandemic by definition is unpredictable and global.”

The current lockdown, initially approved between October 30 and December 1, is already bearing fruit: on Saturday, France recorded a fifth consecutive day of falling numbers of patients in intensive care units.

But it remains the fourth country in the world in terms of number of cases (2.127 million) and has already recorded 48,518 deaths from Covid-19. This week, health officials published reports on the rate of depression and other psychological problems, which have doubled since the end of September.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said that three phases of easing the current lockdown are planned “depending on the evolution of health care”: one from December 1, another for the Christmas holidays and the last one in January.

Leaks to the press in recent days suggest that small businesses may be allowed to open from December 1, to try to cushion the economic and social impact of the restrictive measures, but bars and restaurants would remain closed until January.

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