social acceptance of confinement, the variable that casts doubt on the executive


In France, the government is preparing to take new measures to combat the spread of Covid-19. A new confinement is seriously considered, the effectiveness of the curfew at 6 pm being considered “relative”. But the executive hesitates for fear that it will be accepted by the whole population.

At the time of deciding on the new measures to contain the coronavirus epidemic, Emmanuel Macron and the government are walking on eggshells. Should we quickly impose on the French a third confinement in less than a year, as the scientists recommend? Or should we wait a few more weeks, or even prefer another, less restrictive approach, so as not to alienate part of the population?

It is a political choice that the executive will have to make. This is not without risk, as weariness seems to have won over the French, faced like the rest of the world with Covid-19 for almost a year. But the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, left no room for doubt, Wednesday, January 27, at the end of the council of ministers having followed a health defense council at the Elysee.

” The curfew at 18 ha is now relatively effective. We have data which show that (…) at this stage, it does not sufficiently slow down the circulation of the virus”, he said. declared. Faced with this situation, the scenarios envisaged go “from maintaining the current framework to very tight confinement”, he continued.

At the time of the first confinement, in March 2020, Emmanuel Macron did not hesitate to use a martial tone to announce the general confinement of the population a few days after the closure of schools. “We are at war”, had launched the Head of State to a population in shock and ready to accept almost everything.

But today, and while the discourse has clearly changed, it seems difficult to bring the country to a standstill again with the general consent of the population. “There is a phenomenon of weariness, there is a phenomenon of doubt, there is a phenomenon of questioning, all of this is legitimate. And in the political decision, you must take into account social acceptance”, acknowledged the leader of the deputies La République en Marche (LREM), Christophe Castaner, Wednesday morning on France Inter.

“People can’t take it anymore”

Concept that appeared in France at the beginning of the 1980s when the political class was already trying to find the best method to convince the French to be vaccinated, social acceptance corresponds to what a social group can admit as a modification of his living space, that is to say as a change that would be imposed on him.

>> To see: Covid-19 in France: students in distress

However, opinion polls show that the French are no longer in the same mood as last spring. “Acceptability is a subject of vigilance and a very important issue because at the first confinement the membership was 85%, the second 65% and currently 40%”, blows a government source quoted by AFP.

On the ground, the deputies meet in their constituencies French people tired by a year during which their life has never ceased to be turned upside down. “We feel that people are much more anxious, that they can take no more, that they are tense and tense, especially small traders who fear they will not survive a new confinement similar to that of spring 2020”, testifies Caroline Janvier, LREM member of Loiret, contacted by France 24. “But more than anger, I see problems related to mental health, problems of depression and isolation, in the elderly in particular”, adds- she does.

>> To see: Insecurity, isolation, depression … Being a student in France at the time of the Covid

Emmanuel Macron obviously has in mind the recent events in the Netherlands, where a protest movement and riots took place after the announcement of the implementation of a curfew last weekend. Police arrested 250 people on Sunday evening and another 70 on Monday. Prime Minister Mark Rutte ruled that it was “the worst riots in forty years” in a country which had not experienced a curfew since World War II.

At the same time in France, the hashtag “#JeNeMeReconfineraiPas” appeared on Twitter with multiple testimonies from French people clearly stating that they would disobey in the event of further confinement. “Several businesses refuse to close anyway. Between the declaration and the taking of action there is a step, but it is also the case among many citizens who have respected everything since March: where is the place of the life in all this? #JeNeMeReconfineraiPas “, for example wrote Wednesday Fabrice D. on the social network.

The feeling of danger much less present

The problem of the executive is all the more complex as the health situation is deteriorating, of course, but not exponentially with a contaminations curve which would soar and which would at the same time put everyone in agreement. Very present last March, the feeling of danger, an essential factor of acceptability, is much less present among the French.

The number of hospitalized patients continued to increase on Wednesday to 27,169, of which 3,107 were in intensive care units, according to Public Health France. In addition, 350 additional deaths have been recorded in hospital over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths caused by the epidemic to 74,456 in France, significantly less than in the United Kingdom, to the population comparable, which on Tuesday was the first European country to pass the 100,000 Covid death mark.

But the English variant, particularly contagious, represented 9.4% of cases detected in Île-de-France between January 11 and 21, according to doctors from the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP), for which its progression augurs for an upcoming “very significant” increase in the number of patients.

>> To read: Astrazeneca vaccine: the doses of discord

“If we are forced to put in place a new containment, we will have to have the right words to explain it and defend its implementation,” warns an adviser to the executive, quoted by AFP.

While waiting to make a decision, the executive is trying to put all the chances on its side so that its decision appears as collegial. While he has been widely criticized for making his decisions alone, Emmanuel Macron asked the Prime Minister to conduct “an in-depth consultation” on the “different scenarios” currently on the table, explained Gabriel Attal. Jean Castex will consult, Thursday and Friday, the group presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly, associations of elected officials and social partners.

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