French News Digest: COVID-19 Situation Update in France

French News Digest: COVID-19 Situation Update in France

As the Covid-19 second wave takes hold in France, this week’s news digest focuses on current statistics and possible measures to be introduced to stem the spread, including a stricter curfew (couvre-feu) in 54 departments.

Latest figures from Santé Public France concerning the Covid-19 epidemic revealed 116 deaths in the 24 hours to Sunday. This brings the overall total to 34,761 deaths, with 52,010 new cases of contamination in the same 24 hour period and a total contamination count of 1,138,507 confirmed cases.

The number of deaths in Ehpads (care homes) and EMS (medico-socio centres) stands at 11,126, while the total number of deaths in hospitals is now 23,635.

France has seen 12,176 people newly hospitalised in the last seven days, including 1,816 serious cases in intensive care. The rate of positive test results has risen to 17%.

Further data from Santé Public France reveals 92 departments are currently in a situation of ‘high vulnerability’, with Île-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Hauts-de-France and Grand Est accounting for 70% of patients in intensive care.

Nine departments (Charente-Maritime, Côtes-d’Armor, Finistère, Indre, Manche, Morbihan, Orne, Territoire de Belfort, Réunion) are classed as ‘moderate’ for Covid risk.

Hospitalisations by region, plus total deaths in the 24 hours to Sunday.
  • Ile-de-France: 4,164 hospitalised and 23 deaths in 24 hours
  • Grand Est: 756 hospitalised and 10 deaths in 24 hours
  • Hauts de France: 1,755 hospitalised and 13 deaths in 24 hours
  • Auvergne Rhône Alpes: 3,357 hospitalised and 20 deaths in 24 hours
  • Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur: 1,833 hospitalised and 9 deaths in 24 hours
  • Brittany: 295 hospitalised and 3 deaths in 24 hours
  • Normandy: 674 hospitalised and 3 deaths in 24 hours
  • Nouvelle Aquitaine: 704 hospitalised and 6 deaths in 24 hours
  • Pays de la Loire: 491 hospitalised and 3 deaths in 24 hours
  • Occitanie: 1,128 hospitalised and 8 deaths in 24 hours
  • Centre-Val de Loire: 393 hospitalised and 3 deaths in 24 hours
  • Burgundy-Franche-Comté: 547 hospitalised and 9 deaths in 24 hours
  • Réunion: 46 hospitalised and 1 death in 24 hours
  • Guadeloupe: 155 hospitalised and 3 deaths in 24 hours

France currently has 2,321 Covid-19 clusters, including 141 new ones and 548 in Ehpads.

54 departments including Paris and Ile de France must respect a curfew from 9pm to 6am for at least six weeks.

New curfew to begin at 7pm?

In a bid to control the second wave of Covid-19 affecting France, the French government is considering tougher measures, including a 7pm curfew starting this weekend in the 54 departments currently on maximum alert.

According to French news source franceinfo, President Macron has convened a Health Defense Council meeting today at the Élysée Palace, bringing together ministers on the Covid-19 frontline such as Health Minister Olivier Véran, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire and Interior Minster Gérald Darmanin, as well as health authorities.

On the agenda will be the seriousness of the health crisis and the issue of the return to school next week (all schools are currently in the second and final week of All Saints’ half-term holidays).

One senior government source is quoted as saying: “The French must expect tougher measures, a new turn of the screw in terms of health.”

Later today the Prime Minister will speak with the presidents of the Senate and the National Assembly, and then trade unions bosses and business leaders, with the new measures to be announced tomorrow morning.

“Nothing can be excluded”

This morning, the Minister of Employment, Elisabeth Borne, warned of strong measures to come: “The situation is serious, it will lead us to take new measures quickly,” she said. “At this stage, nothing can be excluded.”

Other options to be considered are a so-called “economically compatible” containment that would allow the economy to keep its head above water, with the closure of all non-essential businesses. Confinement targeted at the elderly, or local lockdowns, are the other options.

Doctors call for tougher measures

Senior doctors in France are calling for a tighter curfew or even a new lockdown, with one, Jean-François Delfraissy, the President of the Scientific Council, saying the Covid-19 situation is “difficult, critical even”.

Meanwhile Professor Eric Caumes, head of the infectious diseases department at Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, said: “The virus is so present among us that I think that today we have no choice but to reconfine.”

Another organisation, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Union of Health Professionals Private Doctors (URPS) – which groups together 14,000 private doctors in the region – has called for a tougher curfew from 7pm and lockdown at weekends. This is “the only way to do it, if we want to avoid a general lockdown,” said Dr. Pierre-Jean Ternamian, regional president of the URPS. According to him, “it is necessary to go much faster and now” because “it is only a matter of days before the rest of the country is submerged”.

Castaner has Covid-19

The former Interior Minister and President of Macron’s LREM party in the National Assembly, Christophe Castaner, has tested positive for Covid-19. He is currently “in isolation”.

In the last few days, at least ten MPs have tested positive for coronavirus.

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