News Digest: A Tighter Curfew has Proven Effective on the Epidemic

News Digest: A Tighter Curfew has Proven Effective on the Epidemic

In France, the latest Covid-19 assessment provided by health authorities has reported 4,347 new cases in the 24 hours to Sunday, bringing the overall total to 3,201,461 confirmed cases since the pandemic began.

However, new cases reported over the weekend are always lower due to limited testing. There were 24,392 new cases confirmed at the end of last Friday, for example, and 27,242 people being treated in hospital, of which 3,228 are in intensive care.

There were 455 additional deaths in the same period, meaning the total number of deaths in Ehpads (care homes) and EMS (medico-socio centres) now stands at 22,703, with 53,809 deaths in hospitals.

The reproduction rate ‘R’ is 1.12, and the incidence rate is 211 with ‘hospital stress’ at 60.2%. This confirms that the epidemic remains on the rise.

As of Friday January 31, 1,486,493 people had received their first dose of a vaccine, with around 45,000 of them having received the second dose.

According to data from Santé Public France, 100 departments are currently in a situation of high vulnerability.

Here are the number of current hospitalisations and deaths in the 24 hours to Sunday:

  • Ile-de-France: 5,342 hospitalised and 57 deaths in 24 hours
  • Grand Est: 2,947 hospitalised and 65 deaths in 24 hours
  • Hauts de France: 2,599 hospitalised and 42 deaths in 24 hours
  • Auvergne Rhône Alpes: 3,859 hospitalised and 64 deaths in 24 hours
  • Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur: 3,349 hospitalised and 72 deaths in 24 hours
  • Brittany: 711 hospitalised and 9 deaths in 24 hours
  • Normandy: 1385 hospitalised and 20 deaths in 24 hours
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine: 1,573 hospitalised and 34 deaths in 24 hours
  • Pays de la Loire: 1,039 hospitalised and 15 deaths in 24 hours
  • Occitanie: 1,860 hospitalised and 29 deaths in 24 hours
  • Centre-Val de Loire: 1,123 hospitalised and 17 deaths in 24 hours
  • Burgundy-Franche-Comté: 1,824 hospitalised and 32 deaths in 24 hours

France currently has 1,921 cluster outbreaks, including 725 in Ehpads.

Curfew ‘having an effect’

In France, the curfew is having “an effect” on the epidemic, according to government spokesman Gabriel Attal. He told franceinfo yesterday that contaminations increased by 4% last week, compared to 10 to 15% the previous week.

However, he warned: “We are not today at a level of circulation of the virus that we consider acceptable.”

“The objective is always to slow down or even reverse the circulation of the virus. That’s why we have reinforced the measures surrounding the 6 p.m. curfew”. (He is referring to increased police checks).

On the subject of a third, full lockdown, Attal said: “We have made the decision to do everything we can to avoid another confinement.”

And with some frustrated restaurateurs threatening to open in defiance of the ban, Attal said they would face tough sanctions. “For restaurateurs who do not respect the rules, there will be financial sanctions, they will no longer have access to the fonds de solidarité (‘solidarity fund’) for a month.”

Ski lifts stay shut for February

In a blow for France’s ski tourism industry, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced last week that ski lifts would remain closed for the whole month of February – usually one of the most lucrative for ski resorts, accommodation providers and associated holiday businesses.

No re-opening date has been set, leaving the whole sector facing an uncertain winter season.

The government has announced that ski equipment shops and related activities will benefit from the support of the aforementioned solidarity fund.

However, despite this increased compensation, “long-term” assistance is deemed necessary, said Virgile Caillet, general delegate of Union Sport et Cycle, a union that brings together ski equipment manufacturers and retailers.

“We have such a specific business model – for four months companies in this sector must generate income to live over twelve months. Last winter, activity was cut by one month, since they had to close in March. Since this season is likely to be lost, this means that they will have no more income until December 2021.”

The subject of whether French people will be able to go on holiday during February’s half term is set to be on the agenda of the government’s Defence Council meeting tomorrow, Wednesday, with an announcement expected on Thursday.

One French maire, Nice’s Christian Estrosi, has banned seasonal rentals during the holidays. Alpes-Maritimes department is one of the most affected by the epidemic.

Six Nations rugby to go ahead

France will face Italy in Rome this Saturday as planned, in the opening match of the Six Nations Tournament.

France’s Sports Minister, Roxana Maracineanu, confirmed the news this morning on France 2.

31 Les Bleus players have been in Nice since January 24th in a “sanitary bubble”, and are being tested regularly to ensure that none have contracted Covid-19.

The French team will then face Ireland on February 14, Scotland on February 28, England on March 13 and Wales on March 20

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