French News Digest: New Variant in the UK: France’s Reaction

French News Digest: New Variant in the UK: France’s Reaction

Welcome to this week’s French news roundup, featuring the Covid latest, travel restrictions and important information for pet owners.

According to the latest report from Santé Public France, there were 351 Covid-19 related deaths in the 24 hours to Monday, bringing the total to 60,900.

In the same period there were 5,797 new cases confirmed (though this number is not definitive due to reporting issues).

The total number of confirmed cases now stands at 2,479,151.

The number of deaths in EHPADs (care homes) and EMS (medico-socio centres) is 18,774 while the total number of deaths in hospitals is 42,126.

The positivity rate is currently 5.6% and the reproduction rate has risen to 1.03. This shows that the epidemic is on the rise, since an infected individual now infects on average more than one other person.

France currently has 25,233 (685 new admissions) people hospitalised and 2,746 (88 new admissions) intensive care patients.

100 departments are currently in a situation of high vulnerability, and here are latest hospitalisation figures and deaths in the 24 hours to Monday, by region:

  • Ile-de-France: 4,791 hospitalisations and 13 deaths in 24 hours
  • Grand Est: 2,885 hospitalised and 26 deaths in 24 hours
  • Hauts de France: 2,453 hospitalised and 11 deaths in 24 hours
  • Auvergne Rhône Alpes: 4,296 hospitalised and 22 deaths in 24 hours
  • Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur: 2,259 hospitalised and 9 deaths in 24 hours
  • Brittany: 591 hospitalised and 4 deaths in 24 hours
  • Normandy: 1116 hospitalised and 6 deaths in 24 hours
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine: 1308 hospitalised and 6 deaths in 24 hours
  • Pays de la Loire: 945 hospitalised and 7 deaths in 24 hours
  • Occitanie: 1,298 hospitalisations and 10 deaths in 24 hours
  • Centre-Val de Loire: 944 hospitalised and 5 deaths in 24 hours
  • Burgundy-Franche-Comté: 1,750 hospitalised and 10 deaths in 24 hours

France currently has 2,523 clusters, including 956 in Ehpads.

New variant in the UK: France’s reaction

The French government’s Defence Council – made up of leading ministers involved in combatting the pandemic – met on Sunday following the discovery of a new variant (called a souche in French) of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

Flights and trains from the United Kingdom were suspended and France closed her border with the UK for 48 hours from Sunday. The closure brought a halt to all transport of goods by road, air, sea and rail.

Today (Tuesday), UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said discussions were under way between the UK and France “to find a resolution” to France’s border closure, with hundreds of freight lorries blocked at Dover.

The mutated virus has not yet been detected in France but it is possible that it is in circulation, said Health Minister Olivier Véran.

President Emmanuel Macron – currently in isolation in the Lantern Pavilion in Versailles (Yvelines) after testing positive for Covid-19 – says that vigilance must be redoubled.

Pet travel to France: key information for January 1, 2021

Following a EU policy decision, the UK government has announced details of NEW documentation required by British people travelling to France with a pet dog, cat or ferret from January 1, 2021.

From this date onwards – the end of the Transition Period – Great Britain will become a ‘third country’ with respect to the EU Pet Travel Scheme.

Read our full article on the subject here.

Vaccines to begin on Sunday in France

Following the European Medicines Agency’s confirmation yesterday that it had approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, France hopes to start vaccinations this weekend.

“We aim to have begun to vaccinate by Monday,” Mr Véran told Europe 1. Ehpad residents and staff will be among the first to be vaccinated.

“On Sunday, we will start vaccinating. The most vulnerable among us will be first, after medical examinations and consent. A steady start, focusing on the safety of all and respectful of our ethical commitments,” he said.

Christmas and New Year in France

A reminder to all readers living in France that the night curfew in place will not apply on December 24th, but must be observed on December 31st, New Year’s Eve.

The Prime Minister Jean Castex has previously recommended that a maximum of six adults (children not included) can gather to eat a Christmas meal together (the evening of the 24th is when families traditionally gather).

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FrenchEntrée's Digital Editor, Zoë is also a freelance journalist who has written for the Telegraph, HuffPost, and CNN, and a guidebook updater for the Rough Guide to France and Rough Guide to Dordogne & Lot. She lives in the French countryside just outside of Nantes.

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