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the government facing the challenge of the weariness of the French

Procrastination for some, caution for others. Almost a year after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the government is struggling to decide on a new containment – or an equivalent measure – in order to counter the third wave of the epidemic ignited by the arrival of new British, South African and Brazilian variants. The State must not only curb the spread of the virus by limiting the economic collapse as much as possible, but also, and above all, not to hold up a weary and edgy population.

“It gets complicated”blows a source close to the government. To wait too long is to take the risk that the contaminations explode under the tenfold effect of the variants. But reconfining too soon makes fear the anger of the French who, failing to perceive the imminent danger, would no longer obey the constraints, reducing all efforts to nothing.

Confinement, in fact, is no longer this “Collective adventure” experienced and approved by 80% of the population during the spring of 2020. The French today reject the prospect of new confinement by more than 55%, reveals a study by the IFOP-Fiducial polling institute for Cnews and Sud Radio dated January 14.

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The phenomenon is not only related to the temperament of “Gauls refractory” the French. All over Europe, respect for constraints is fraying. Counterintuitively, “The hardness of the measures is not directly linked to their acceptance”, underlines Thomas Hale, researcher at the University of Oxford at the origin of a global database comparing the government responses decreed to face the pandemic. “Discipline depends above all on the degree of confidence of the population towards society and the government”, he emphasizes. “To make the restrictive measures acceptable, the government is subject to a triple constraint: transparency, fairness and efficiency”, adds Frédéric Dabi, Deputy Director General of the FIFG.

Don’t repeat mistakes

To play on transparency, the executive takes care to argue for each of its decisions. And to support them on the evolution of contamination curves, hospital saturation and deaths linked to Covid-19. Is it for this reason that the Head of State wanted to wait for the latest health data before arbitrating for, or against, a third confinement? Without a doubt.

But it remains for him to be convinced of the fairness of the chosen device. On this point, the teams of the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, warn him. If a strict confinement as in the spring with closed schools is, for the time being, ruled out, in particular because of its social and economic cost, we must not repeat the errors of the second confinement which had earned France to be qualified. of “Absurdistan”.

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