A call for “a sense of responsibility” in the face of “manifest degradation”, but no “logic of generalized containment”: in an attempt to halt a rebound in the Covid-19 epidemic in France, the government favors measures taken locally, depending on the situation in each department.
“The situation shows a clear deterioration” and “everything confirms that the virus has not decreased in intensity”, declared Prime Minister Jean Castex after the meeting of a Defense Council.
But the bulk of the measures “should not be decided from Paris with the idea of applying everywhere at the same time and in the same way”, he added.
While the President of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, foresaw the taking of “difficult decisions” during the week, no new prohibition measures were taken and few concrete announcements were made at the national level.
The main one is the reduction of the duration of isolation to 7 days for positive cases and their contacts, recommended by the Scientific Council because the current duration of 14 days was not sufficiently respected.
In addition, the Prime Minister wants to reduce waiting times “too long” for tests: “slots” will be reserved for priority people (those who have symptoms, have been in “close contact” with a positive person, are caregivers or work in nursing homes).
Finally, 2,000 additional people will be recruited from the Health Insurance and Regional Health Agencies (ARS) to strengthen the tracing of contacts of infected people.
“Faced with this epidemic, our strategy does not vary: fight against the virus, avoiding having to put aside our social, cultural, economic life, the education of our children and our ability to live normally”, said Mr. Castex.
– Bordeaux, Marseille, Guadeloupe –
“The virus is there for a few more months and we must manage to live with it without letting ourselves be drawn again into a logic of generalized containment”, he pleaded, while the spring containment has done great damage in socio-economic terms, while preventing the hospital system from exploding.
Even if the indicators of the epidemic are deteriorating throughout the territory, Mr. Castex highlighted the cases of Marseille, Bordeaux and Guadeloupe. There is “a worrying trend in contamination”, especially among those most at risk, such as the elderly.
“I asked the prefects concerned to offer me new additional measures by Monday,” said the head of government.
In addition, “the Defense Council increased to 42 the number of departments classified as red, that is to say with so-called active circulation of the virus.”
This classification “allows the prefect, in conjunction with the health authorities and local elected officials, to trigger additional risk reduction measures, in particular on the wearing of a mask, gatherings in public spaces, major events or opening hours. opening of certain businesses “, according to Mr. Castex.
These announcements come at a time when the general picture is worrying. Across France, the number of positive cases and the rate of positive tests have been increasing steadily in recent weeks.
– “No Maginot line” –
Nearly 10,000 cases (9,406) of Covid-19 have been recorded in 24 hours, according to data released Friday evening by Public Health France. The record was reached on Thursday since the start of the epidemic and the launch of large-scale testing in the country, with 9,843 new cases.
An increase in the number of infected people will automatically lead to an increase in severe cases, that is to say hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care, with a few weeks delay. But in what proportions? That’s the whole point, since the danger is that hospitals will be saturated.
“For the first time in many weeks, we are seeing a significant increase in people hospitalized”, insisted Mr. Castex, according to whom this “causes our particular concern”.
And the number of patients hospitalized in intensive care exceeded the 600 mark on Thursday, for the first time since the end of June, even if we remain very far from the 7,000 of the peak of the epidemic.
“The levels of hospitalization and admission to intensive care are still moderate compared to the period March-April, but the risk of the virus spreading to older populations could imply a greater increase (…) in the weeks to come “, warned the health agency Public Health France.
Even if the virus currently circulates a lot among young people, there is “no Maginot line”, according to Mr. Castex: it “inevitably ends up affecting vulnerable people” (elderly or at risk people, with diseases such as diabetes, obesity or respiratory ailments).
This is why he “asks in particular the elderly to observe the greatest caution”, and “solemnly appeals to the sense of responsibility of each and every one” for the respect of barrier measures, distancing and wearing of the mask .