A 6 p.m. curfew in the East rather than a re-containment? The measure chosen by the government to slow the rebound of the Covid-19 pandemic in France is considered too light by local officials, a sign of their concern on the eve of a high-risk New Year’s Eve.
While the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, ruled out, Tuesday, December 29, the idea of a national reconfinement and that a curfew at 6 p.m. is envisaged in the East, this measure does not make the unanimity among local politicians, who are worried about an upsurge in cases of Covid-19 contamination.
“I would have liked that we were able to (…) take advantage of this holiday period (…) to be able to achieve a form of confinement”, declared on France Info the president (LR) of the Grand-Est region , Jean Rottner. “Doesn’t that risk making us fall behind and therefore see this epidemic pass again and run behind?”, He fears.
“I remain skeptical about the relevance of a half-measure,” added France Bleu Lorraine Valérie Beausert-Leick, president (PS) of the departmental council of Meurthe-et-Moselle. “I hope that the future will prove us wrong and that advancing this curfew will be enough.” Striking reactions when we remember that the closures of bars and restaurants at the end of September in Marseille had on the contrary infuriated local elected officials.
How effective are curfews?
The government instead favors advancing the curfew to 6 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. in certain places in the eastern half of the country, particularly threatened by the epidemic rebound.
“The curfew, which is night confinement, is a solution that shows a certain effectiveness,” epidemiologist Yves Buisson, president of the Covid-19 group at the National Academy of Medicine, commented on RMC.
In mid-November, the French public health agency had also estimated that the curfews imposed locally a month earlier had made it possible to slow the epidemic, even before the confinement of October 30.
According to the Ministry of Health, 20 departments are concerned, from the Ardennes to the Alpes-Maritimes via the Allier and the Haut-Rhin. The measure should take effect from January 2, after consultation with elected officials, prefects and regional health agencies.
“Why wait for the 2nd and not do it immediately?” Asked Jean Rottner. The Ministry of Health justifies this delay by the fact that the inflation of tests during the Christmas holidays may give a distorted view of the circulation of the virus. According to him, a few additional days of observation are therefore necessary.
Over the last seven days, an average of 12,000 new daily cases has been recorded, far from the target of 5,000. In addition, 24,743 Covid patients are hospitalized in France, including 2,666 serious cases in intensive care.
And an increase in the circulation of the virus seems to be feared after the Christmas holiday shuffles. An “uncontrolled resumption of the epidemic” in January is “probable”, warns the Scientific Council which guides the government, in an opinion made public Tuesday evening.
First vaccinations against Covid-19 on Monday
Vaccination against Covid-19 will begin on Monday at around thirty pilot sites in the Grand-Est region. It will target “social and medico-social establishments and long-term care units”, explained Wednesday the director general of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) Virginie Cayré, without detailing the sites concerned.
“The work is being finalized for the pre-vaccination consultations and the collection of consents so that the vaccinations can take place from January 4,” added the director general of the ARS, during a conference of joint press with the prefect of the Grand Est region, Josiane Chevalier.
“From January 11 and especially January 15”, vaccination will be extended “to all establishments concerned: nursing homes and long-term care units”, or “more than 650 potential vaccination sites”, added Virginie Cayré , indicating that vaccines were being delivered to the region that day.