News Digest: France “Emerging Sustainably from Health Crisis”

News Digest: France “Emerging Sustainably from Health Crisis”

In France, the latest report provided by the health authorities concerning the pandemic of Covid-19, shows at least 5,780,379 confirmed cases, a rise of 3,292 in the 24 hours to Monday.

The total number of deaths is now 106,684, with 292 additional deaths in the same 24-hour period. The number of deaths in EHPADs (care homes) and EMS (medico-socio centres) is 26,292, while the total number of deaths in hospitals is 80,392.

The reproducibility rate R is 0.76, the incidence rate is 183.05 and the hospitalization rate is 96.3%. The positivity rate is 4.0%.

Hospital patient numbers continue to fall: France currently has 25,666 (131 fewer) people hospitalised with Covid-19 and 4,870 (-101) patients in intensive care.

According to the data from Santé Public France, here are the patient figures by region:

  • Ile-de-France: 6,769 (-14) hospitalised, 1,487 (-19) in intensive care and +53 deaths in 24h
  • Grand Est: 2,109 (-16) hospitalised, 403 (-13) in intensive care and +26 deaths in 24h
  • Hauts de France: 3,011 (-39) hospitalised, 571 (-21) in intensive care and +35 deaths in 24h
  • Auvergne Rhône Alpes: 3,061 (-22) hospitalised, 540 (-27) in intensive care and +28 deaths in 24h
  • Provence-Alpes Côte d’Azur: 2,474 (-40) hospitalised, 423 (-20) in intensive care and +36 deaths in 24h
  • Brittany: 738 (-4) hospitalised, 94 (+3) in intensive care and +5 deaths in 24h
  • Normandy: 1,325 (+3) hospitalised, 179 (+3) in intensive care and +22 deaths in 24h
  • Nouvelle-Aquitaine: 1,280 (+5) hospitalised, 255 (-3) in intensive care and +16 deaths in 24h
  • Pays de la Loire: 751 (+1) hospitalised, 124 (-1) in intensive care and +11 deaths in 24h
  • Occitanie: 1,531 (-31) hospitalised, 312 (-7) in intensive care and +21 deaths in 24h
  • Centre-Val de Loire: 952 (+5) hospitalised, 186 (+2) in intensive care and +22 deaths in 24h
  • Bourgogne-Franche-Comté: 1,099 (+5) hospitalised, 166 (-6) in intensive care and +12 deaths in 24h

Vaccinations update

From this morning (Tuesday), same-day or next-day reservations are now available for all those over 18 years of age, regardless of whether they are ‘non-priority’ or not, said the Director of Doctolib. This move is aimed to curb wastage of doses and comes a day earlier than the initial date of Wednesday May 12 indicated by President Macron last week.

As of Sunday, 17,829,181 people in France (26.61% of the population) had received one vaccination dose, with 8,253,826 (12.32% of the population) of those also having received a second jab.

France “emerging sustainably from health crisis”, says PM Castex

French Prime Minister Jean Castex believes that France is “in the process of emerging sustainably” from the health crisis.

“I say it in the clearest way: we are finally in the process of getting out of this health crisis”, he said yesterday in an interview with newspaper Le Parisien.

But even if “we are reaching the goal”, this exit “will be done gradually, carefully and accompanied”, he stressed. However, he foresees “putting the brakes on in case the epidemic situation changes locally”.

When asked about the possibility of a “fourth wave” of the epidemic, the PM believes that “nothing should be excluded and that we should remain hyper-vigilant”, and gave an assurance that France is among the most demanding countries in Europe in this respect.

The post-lockdown timeline

More details have been announced regarding upcoming ‘deconfinement’ measures as France eyes a return to normality.

Bars and restaurants will be able to reopen their terraces on May 19 everywhere in France, for tables of six guests. Then indoor dining will follow on June 9, but restaurants will have to limit themselves to half capacity, before being able to open without limitations from June 30.

Meanwhile, all shops, including shopping malls and so-called “non-essential” businesses, will  also be able to reopen on May 19 – next Wednesday – with a maximum of one customer per 8 square metres. Then, from June 9, shops will be allowed to welcome twice as many customers, ie. one per 4 square metres. These restrictions are then scheduled to disappear completely on June 30.

Speaking to France Inter this morning about the initial reopening of restaurant and café terraces on May 19, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said: “The responsibility of everyone one is going to play a big part”.

“The French have shown for several months now that they are responsible, and that they will be again for these re-openings,” he explained. “Moreover, with terraces we are outside, and we know that the risk of contamination outside is infinitely lower than inside.”

Departmental lockdowns not ruled out

As for the prospect of departmental confinements should new strains or outbreaks occur, Attal said: “It will obviously slow down the passage to the next stage,” and that the timetable could be modified locally in case of a resurgence of Covid-19 – in case of  “an imminent danger in intensive care units, or a very strong dynamic of the epidemic.”

If this were to happen, he said, “Local authorities will meet with representatives of the State, we will look at the situation and we will take the right decisions to protect the inhabitants of that department”.

Amber traffic lights

France is on the UK’s ‘amber’ travel list

While May 17 has been announced as the date when foreign travel for UK residents can start again, France has been placed on the country’s ‘amber’ list.

This means that visiting France is still not recommended and that anyone who does go to France will, upon returning home, be required to quarantine (self-isolate) for up to 10 days. Covid-19 tests will be obligatory on day two and day eight after arriving in the UK.

Country colour codes for the UK’s ‘traffic light’ system will be reviewed every three weeks – Spain and Greece are among others on the amber list.

“Amber countries form the biggest group, and as with red countries, you should not be travelling to these places right now,” said UK transport secretary Grant Shapps.

Only visitors to countries on the UK’s ‘green’ list, such as Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel, will not require to quarantine upon arrival back in the UK.

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