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after Nice, the government considers restrictions in Dunkirk

After the implementation of a re-containment in Nice for two weekends, the French government is expected to announce on Wednesday “new braking measures” for the Covid-19 epidemic in Dunkirk, in the north of the country.

Local restrictions against Covid-19, adopted in consultation with municipal and regional elected officials. After Nice, it is the city of Dunkirk, in northern France, which should be subject to this new French government policy aimed at curbing the local epidemic outbreaks linked to the English variant of the coronavirus.

The Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, will visit the site on Wednesday February 24 for a visit to the hospital and a meeting with local elected officials, while a health defense council will be held at the Elysee around the head of the state.

Decided to territorialize its response to the health crisis, the government is considering “additional braking measures” after consultation with elected officials in the northern city, Matignon announced Tuesday to AFP.

After a meeting between the 22 mayors of the Urban Community of Dunkirk (about 200,000 inhabitants), its president Patrice Vergriete (DVG) proposed a “huge prevention campaign around the slogan” zero gathering, zero regrouping “, with families and businesses to increase telework, but not re-containment.

Located on the northern coast, opposite England and not far from the Belgian border, Dunkirk has been facing an epidemic outbreak for more than ten days attributed to the stronger presence of the British variant, which is more contagious. The increase peaked Monday at 900 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last seven days, even more than for the metropolis Nice Côte d’Azur (771) and more than four times higher than the national average (201).

Return of the certificate

In Nice, the fifth largest city in France, and on the entire coast of the Alpes-Maritimes, residents will have to live the next two weekends (February 27-28, March 6-7), the last of the school holidays, under the constraint of ” containment that will be added to the 6 p.m. curfew already in place during the week.

Only one-hour outings will be authorized within a radius of 5 km, with a certificate to go to the doctor, play sports or take a walk. The authorities of the Alpes-Maritimes have also announced for 15 days, as of Tuesday, the closure of businesses of more than 5,000 m2, excluding pharmacies and food shops, while bars, restaurants and cultural places have already been closed for almost three month.

Against a background of uneven progression of English, South African or Brazilian variants which are of greater concern to health authorities, the situation is also closely monitored in Île-de-France, where the incidence rate has further increased to 277 cases per 100,000. inhabitants over seven days on Saturday, against 269 the day before, according to figures from the Regional Health Agency (ARS).

In this context, the Prime Minister paid a surprise visit on Tuesday evening to the Argenteuil hospital center (Val d’Oise) where 80% of the intensive care unit is occupied by Covid patients.

“My obsession is to prevent people from arriving at your home. There is the hard method, confinement etc. But the best way is to get vaccinated. It’s a race against time and you have to hold on” , said Jean Castex. “Our fellow citizens may have thought that these epidemics were the Middle Ages. It brought us all back to Earth,” he added.

In Paris, as in other metropolises, images of crowds strolling in parks, or groups of friends having a drink, plastic cups in hand, have resurfaced in favor of the good weather.

“Stay on this plateau”

“The logic is to take a local approach, to do it on a case-by-case basis, in consultation, because the situations are different within the regions”, explained Tuesday to AFP, the entourage of Emmanuel Macron, in margin of a visit by the Head of State to Côte d’Or.

“We have a strong heterogeneity from an epidemiological point of view” and “the circulation of the variant has pushed these levels of difference between the regions even more strongly”, also noted on France Inter the epidemiologist and director of research at the Inserm Vittoria Colizza.

“Today, we have this balance between the historical strain in decline (?) And the British variant which is pushing towards an increase (…). The objective is to stay on this plateau as long as possible and avoid a rise cases or push it back as much as possible in time, ”she added.

If some territories are worried, France is not at this stage undergoing the explosion feared for several weeks because of the variants, even if the Minister of Health was worried, Monday, of a “new increase in the circulation of the virus “for” four or five consecutive days “.

Over the past seven days, Public Health France has recorded around 140,000 new cases, against just under 130,000 the previous seven days. The number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients remains stable at a high level, at more than 25,000 patients, and the number of patients in intensive care has risen above 3,400 since Monday, which however remains far from the peaks of first and second waves (7,000 and 4,900).

The rate of hospital deaths appears to be slowing, to 314 on Tuesday, from 352 and 439 the previous two Tuesdays. In total, more than 85,000 people have died since the epidemic began a year ago.

The vaccination campaign is continuing against the backdrop of still limited supplies. More than 2.6 million people have received at least one dose, and more than 1.2 million people have received two doses.

With AFP