What do you think of the government’s management of the health crisis?
This crisis took everyone by surprise. So you have to be humble and careful. I have heard a lot of haphazard recommendations. We managed the shortage, the lack of masks and tests by approximation, and sometimes by omission. The French believe that they have not been told the truth. We couldn’t tell them that wearing a mask was useless. You couldn’t tell them that mass screening was not essential. Admittedly, it is always easy to throw a stone, but I fear that this confusion has contributed a little more to a society of distrust vis-à-vis public speech, including scientific.
Should we make it mandatory to wear a mask?
The French will demand it. To get out of confinement, there are a number of prerequisites. Among them, there are the barrier gestures and the wearing of the mask. The other prerequisites are virological and serological tests.
Will France be ready on May 11?
This is essential. But there are three other requirements: progressiveness, territorialization and reactivity. May 11 will not be back to life until March 17. A disorganized deconfinement would pose a major risk to our compatriots and to our health system. The answer can only be in differentiation. If it is the same everywhere, the risk of failure is major. Management must be decentralized: the prefects must have authority over all government departments. It must also be decentralized. Without the Regions, we do not know how to revive the economy, manage transport and high schools. Without the departments, we do not know how to bring students into colleges and manage the medico-social, and especially our elders. And, of course, nothing will be possible without the proximity action of the mayors. Finally, it will also be necessary to know how to be reactive to adjust the procedure and avoid a “reply”. Let’s trust each other. Let us have the spirit of “State and united territories”. Territories are not substitutes, they are partners.
Do you support the implementation of a tracking application?
This method deserves to be analyzed and deepened because it opens a debate between freedoms and efficiency. It is an eminently political subject, not just health. It should not be left to the experts alone! I am a pragmatic; tracing, why not? But if we don’t have masks or tests, it won’t protect us from the Covid. This is why I asked the President of the Republic that there be a global debate on deconfinement. We will have it in the Senate no later than May 5.
On April 14, you asked for “arbitrations” on deconfinement. The tracks remain blurred…
The consultation has started and we must give it the necessary time. The incessant and contradictory speaking disturbs the French. When the plan is presented by the government, there should be no ambiguity about the phasing, the procedure, the needs, the means and the role of the territories.
Emmanuel Macron opened the door to a national union. Are you going to grab that outstretched hand?
I am for national unity in this period of acute health crisis. National unity is not about renouncing the expression of differences. Democracy cannot be put on hold. I am always worried that we want to reduce the democratic space, because that always favors the emergence of populisms. But, on a certain number of subjects, we have been and will be united. We demonstrated this by passing a health emergency law and two amending finance bills. We will soon have to extend the emergency law passed on March 23. This will be an opportunity to assess and adjust it.