Faced with the surge in coronavirus cases in Nice and in the Alpes-Maritimes, the government plans to introduce additional measures in the fifth largest city in France and its surroundings. These new restrictions, whose confinement is not excluded, could be announced by the end of the weekend.
Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes under a bell? To counter the outbreak of Covid-19 in the department, the government plans to confine the fifth city in France and its surroundings, a measure hitherto unheard of at the local level in metropolitan France. During a visit, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran mentioned, Saturday, February 20, the possibility of an “accentuated” curfew or a “partial or total confinement”.
Visiting a Nice hospital, Olivier Véran indicated that he had asked the prefect to “continue the consultation (…) with all the elected representatives of the territory” with a view to “additional measures” which could be taken before Sunday February 21 evening. “It could take the form of an increase in the curfew, or even partial or total confinement,” he said.
A consultation will be carried out during the weekend with the local elected officials of the territory under the aegis of the Prefect to take additional measures ranging from a reinforced curfew to local containment at the weekend to stem the epidemic.
– Olivier Véran (@olivierveran) February 20, 2021
The LR mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who accompanied the minister on the spot, said he was in favor of such measures, already variously welcomed by the inhabitants.
“I do not want to be re-defined at all, I want to continue to live normally,” Audrey Chazalette, 31, account manager in tourism in Nice, told AFP. On the other hand, “we are in a hurry for this to end,” comments Simon Lemer, 24, wealth management advisor. “At some point, you have to take measures, make it strict enough, and get out of there once and for all”.
The incidence rate of the epidemic in the metropolis of Nice is particularly high: it exceeds 700 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants, or more than three times the national average of 190.
With such rates, “local containment is a hypothesis on the table,” observed Mr. Véran, stressing that the government could be required to make “more territorial decisions” in places where “the virus circulates a lot, really a lot. “.
Several thousand additional doses of vaccine will be sent to the department, where the virus is spreading rapidly with a strong presence of the English variant, said the minister.
In Moselle, a department which is also experiencing an outbreak of Covid, the Minister of Health also mentioned, in mid-February, the possibility of local confinement or the closure of schools, subject to consultation with local elected officials. But for now, the prefect has simply decided to increase the checks on the application of health measures and the number of tests carried out.
“The trend over the last three days is not good”
Overseas, local containment has been in force in Mayotte since February 5, for at least three weeks, to cope with the appearance of the South African and British variants.
At the national level, “the trend over the last three days is not good, it is no longer good”, lamented Olivier Véran, stressing that on Friday we had counted “more than 3,000 additional cases compared to Friday of the previous week “. France recorded 24,116 new infections with the coronavirus in 24 hours, according to the latest figures published by Public Health France (SPF).
The toll of the epidemic in the country now stands at 83,964 dead, with 328 additional deaths in 24 hours in hospitals, according to data from SPF.
According to majority parliamentarians, who took part in a video conference with the Presidency of the Republic on Friday, the Elysee gives itself 8 to 10 days to decide whether the current constraints should be relaxed or on the contrary tightened.
“No slackening despite the good weather”
In the meantime, respect for barrier gestures remains imperative, insisted Olivier Véran. And this even if the very spring weather this weekend could encourage the French to multiply outdoor gatherings.
“There are people on the Promenade des Anglais who sometimes don’t wear a mask, because they come to enjoy the fresh air and they may have the feeling that at the water’s edge they are not risking anything. . This is wrong! “, Underlined Mr. Véran. “Take care, protect yourself, everywhere,” he repeated.
“No relaxation despite the good weather”, also tweeted the Paris police headquarters, which announced the deployment of 4,000 officials “throughout the weekend” to increase checks in the capital and its suburbs, and in particular to prevent “any gathering in green spaces”.
“Physical activities in groups of adults” are prohibited in parks and gardens, as well as any grouping of more than six people, recalled the prefecture, stressing that offenders exposed themselves to a fine of 135 euros.
In Lyon, the prefecture banned alcohol consumption on Saturday afternoon on public roads in the city center, in order to limit gatherings around drinking establishments, deemed “conducive to epidemic spread”.