Covid-19: how long will the state of health emergency last?

The epidemic is rebounding. Across Europe, states are seeing an increase in Covid-19 contamination and France is not to be outdone. Down since March, positive cases are increasing again in France, with 44,000 new daily cases on average over the past seven days. This situation is explained by the decline in the protection conferred by an infection or a dose of vaccine over time and the appearance of new variants, BA.4 and BA.5.

Faced with this new epidemic recovery, the government risks finding itself very soon helpless. Indeed, the state of health emergency, which allows exceptional measures to be taken to counter the epidemic, will end on July 31. Thanks to this status, the executive could decide to limit travel, access to certain establishments, to establish confinement or a curfew, as was the case recently in several overseas departments and regions. This text also made it possible to impose the vaccination or health pass.

Deferred proposal

The state of health emergency, first introduced on March 23, 2020, has since been extended several times. The latest is that provided for by the law of November 10, 2021. At the time, the government considered that the uncertain health context and the possible emergence of new variants justified increased vigilance. However, this text provides that France is in “transitional period of exit from a state of health emergency”.

To deal with the renewed epidemic of June 2022, the government had planned to present a new text to the Council of Ministers on Wednesday June 22. Finally, the proposal was postponed, in particular because of the defeat in the legislative elections of Brigitte Bourguignon, which will lead to her departure from the Ministry of Health.

The government has “stopped acting”

If the content of the future text therefore remains unknown, government spokeswoman Olivia Grégoire declared, after a council of ministers on June 8, that it would no longer mention the state of emergency or of the vaccination pass. According to her, the government “is not going to present a text that will extend all the existing crisis mechanisms. What matters to us is that we are able to intervene if the health situation were to change after July 31. Olivia Grégoire thus evoked “braking measures”without specifying which ones.

Once the text has been presented, it will have to pass before the National Assembly, where Emmanuel Macron does not have an absolute majority, and the Senate. The environmentalist senator from Paris Bernard Jomier was very critical on June 22, believing that the government had “stopped acting” on the Covid front. For him, it is necessary to register the “measures for managing health threats in common law, a way to avoid exceptional arrangements”.


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