The first deputy of the city of Marseille (southern France) denounced Thursday an “affront” after the announcement “without consultation” by the government of “incredible restrictions” to fight against COVID-19, and demanded a delay of 10 days before the implementation of new measures.
“Once again, our territory is sanctioned, punished, pointed out,” blasted Benoît Payan, replacing the left mayor Michèle Rubirola, who recently underwent an operation. “Respect for the second city in France is at stake,” he thundered during a press conference, assuring that he himself had to call the Minister of Health before his speech on Wednesday to obtain explinations.
Minister Olivier Véran notably announced on Wednesday evening the placement of the Aix-Marseille metropolis in “maximum alert zone”, a decision which should lead, among other things, to the total closure of bars, restaurants and sports halls from Saturday, for a period of time. 15 days. The island of Guadeloupe, in the French Antilles, has also been placed in a “maximum alert zone”.
Eleven other metropolises in France, including Paris, have been placed in “enhanced alert zone”, which implies in particular a closure of bars from 10 pm.
“The Marseillais adapt, restrict themselves, constrain themselves, the city of Marseille has been able to respond” to the health crisis, pointed out Mr. Payan, assuring that the measures implemented had “started to bear fruit” and evoking for Marseille “the lowest contamination rate in France”.
“With Madam Mayor, we are asking the government 10 days before the implementation of new measures,” continued Mr. Payan. “If at the end of these 10 days the epidemic resumes, we are ready to make these decisions”.
The pandemic caused by the new coronavirus has officially infected more than 31.6 million people worldwide, including more than five million in Europe, since the appearance of the first cases in December, according to a report made on Wednesday by AFP in from official sources.
In total, more than 971,670 people died, including 227,130 on the European continent.