France’s annual Bastille Day, Tuesday, shall be very completely different this yr, with the coronavirus pandemic shaping far more subdued celebrations — and a brand new idea of battle.
France’s yearly show of navy may continues to be on the menu — from jets and helicopters flying over Paris, to troops on the bottom.
However most French must swap on their TVs in the event that they wish to see it this yr. The normal firemen’s balls are cancelled. And whereas Paris fireworks are nonetheless on, Mayor Anne Hidalgo recommends metropolis residents watch them from residence.
Throughout France, Bastille Day 2020 is a toned-down affair. Just some thousand will attend the principle ceremony within the French capital — going down on the Place de la Concorde — as an alternative of the hordes watching the same old parade down the Champs Elysees.
And this yr, the nation pays tribute to well being care and different frontline staff concerned in a brand new battle — not in Mali or Afghanistan, however at residence, in opposition to COVID-19. A few of them are attending the Paris parade. So are well being ministers from 4 European nations — Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg — which took in French coronavirus sufferers.
All of this displays the pondering of French President Emmanuel Macron. He has repeatedly described the battle in opposition to the pandemic a “battle.”
In current weeks, France — which as soon as had one of many world’s highest caseloads — gave the impression to be successful it. Every day circumstances have fallen sharply from a number of months in the past, together with mortalities.
However with lockdown a distant reminiscence, well being specialists now concern a resurgence. The French are shedding their masks, heading to holidays and more and more greeting one another with the normal double-cheek kiss. The numbers of sick are inching again up. Worrying traces of the virus have been present in Paris wastewater.
At the moment, the federal government is contemplating making mask-wearing compulsory in indoor areas. On France-Data radio, Well being Minister Olivier Verran warned in opposition to enjoyable social distancing pointers.
Together with Bastille Day, one other French custom guarantees to be noticed. Some well being care staff are planning to protest in Paris in opposition to not too long ago agreed hospital reforms, which they argue don’t go far sufficient.