The COVID-19, the new disease from the coronavirus genome, is tackle down the world to a new form of immediate challenge. France is experiencing a high rate of infection; as of Thursday 19th of March, the virus is roughly affecting 9134 French citizens while 264 already passed away because of this virus. In the Czech Republic, we can speak about dramatically different numerous 572 infected people but 3 of them are happily recovered. Minister of Health Adam Vojtěch declared that of the 52 patiens hospitalized with COVID, five are in severe condition. The emergency measures to contain the pandemic have been recently stressed out by French Mr. President Macron, on Monday 16th of March: “We are at war [with] an invisible, elusive enemy and it requires our general mobilization.”
Indeed, the closure of schools, cafes, restaurants and non-food shops as well as Parisian parks was declared for an effective result. However, the mayor election scheduled on Sunday 15th has been guaranteed. Following this official light speech compared to other countries, some of the French citizens did not respect these measures. Gathering in parks or in the city centre around historical monuments continued to appear in the capital. Beyond the fact that it may have shocked some European neighbours or even French citizens themselves, this attitude had to be sorted out as soon as possible. Public events and all public gatherings were cancelled. Macron enacted stricter enforcement, warning that those who failed to comply would be punished with a fine up to 135 euros. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said 100,000 police would be charged with enforcing the crackdown. The French Minister of Health Olivier Véran speaks of a maximum of 5 people with whom it is recommended to meet per day.
In the Czech Republic from Saturday 14 March 2020 at 6:00 to 24 March 2020 at 6:00 all shops are closed except for example for shops selling foodstuffs (from Wednesday, 19 March between 10am and 12pm only shoppers over the age of 65 can enter grocery stores) sanitary and drugstore goods, pharmacies, computer and telecommunications technology or tobacco products. The wearing of drapes or other face masks is mandatory in public. Czech Republic declared a 30-day state of emergency and barred entry to non-residents from coronavirus-affected countries, as well as partially closing its borders. Outbound travel to high-risk countries is also banned.
On the other hand, flights to and from France are still taking off, but airlines across the board are cancelling services due to a huge drop in demand, and the French government has announced that international flights are to be reduced. Airports in France will remain open for now, but certain terminals will be closed – one at Orly Airport just south of Paris from Wednesday, and two at Charles De Gaulle to the north of the capital by the end of next week. France, in agreement with its neighbors, is introducing border controls to limit traffic but does not close the borders altogether.
Either this attitude is due to a form of citizen carelessness and incivility, or it is due to incoherent governmental decisions, both sides needed to acknowledge the unprecedented and seriousness of this time. Following medical recommendation, the French government had no choice to take further the restrictions. Therefore, on Monday 16th, Macron ordered quarantine for at least fifteen days and restricted the freedom of movement. The government expressed the penalization of any violation of these rules, reserved its right to control its citizens while imposing official certificate to move. It is necessary to fill in one of the two forms that must be worn by the citizens at all times and in case of inspection they are obliged to submit the attestation.
However, the economic life of the country is to be preserved. These severe measures have been declared alongside the economic support of French businesses. Firstly, the government promised to unblock 30 billion euros to help to finance short-time work, as well as guarantees for companies’ bank loans granted, deferral of taxes and social charges. The French president said the government would introduce a measure in parliament to guarantee 300 billion euros in loans to prop up businesses hurt by the pandemic. He said rent and utility bills owed by small businesses would be suspended. French government added that water, gas or electricity bills and rents businesses will be adjourned as long as the situation will remain. The Czech Parliament has announced a support injection of 1 trilion crowns for businesses affected by coronavirus. Direct aid should be around EUR 100 billion and EUR 900 billion for guarantees. The best-known Czech car brand Skoda car cut off production from Wednesday to Thursday.
Secondly, Le Maire, the minister of the economy, announced earlier this month, the requirement of strategic reorientation and relocation of the French industry. Indeed, he insisted on three sensitive sectors such as pharmaceutical, electrical automobile and aeronautics industries. He mentioned business nationalization as well if necessary in order to avoid dependence.
The coronavirus pandemic is certainly badly affecting French society as well as the entire world. It highlights the flaws of the globalization and the overconsumption, which has a huge impact on economy, environment and health.
Written by our intern Célia Masson.