General mobilization. This is the message that the Prime Minister wanted to convey to the French this Thursday evening, on multiple occasions. Just six days ago, Jean Castex took the floor to let it be known that the government intended to avoid as much as possible a third confinement.
As the school holidays approach, and even if the epidemic has not yet shown any real sign of an outbreak, vigilance must be as strong as possible, insists the executive. The virus continues to circulate strongly and the time has come to empower citizens. Here’s everything to remember from the evening announcements.
The epidemic is progressing in the country
The trend has now been constant for weeks. The average number of infections is rather stable at the national level, but that of patients admitted to intensive care units is increasing slightly. The government knows that the health balance is fragile and that it can be upset in the near future.
“Today, six out of ten patients admitted to intensive care units are patients with Covid”, recalls the Prime Minister. Jean Castex believes, however, that the country has not experienced a new epidemic wave of magnitude, while the death rate per capita during the second wave would be “one of the lowest in Europe”.
The hunt for new variants
But the threat of the arrival of new variants still weighs heavily. “They can lead to epidemic outbreaks,” warns Jean Castex, who mentions a “very present” threat. The share of contaminations with these variants now stands at more than 14%. Olivier Véran, for his part, expressed fears about the Brazilian variant, which has appeared in the country and about which little is known to date.
The Minister announced the deployment of specific PCR kits to detect these variants. In case of contamination with one of these variants, the patient is called immediately, assures Olivier Véran. The passage of a nurse at home is automatic.
The 6 p.m. curfew is maintained
It was highly unlikely that the government would defeat itself in six short days. It is confirmed: the executive is sticking for the moment to the 6 p.m. curfew to limit the movements of the French. “Our strategy has enabled us to keep control of the epidemic,” explains Jean Castex, congratulating the French for their efforts.
No question, at this stage, of going any further. “Containment has made it possible to curb the epidemic, but we know the economic, social, human and sometimes even health costs. Containment, if desired effective, would mean the closure of our businesses and schools. “A re-containment will only be decided” as a very last resort “, continues the Prime Minister. “If we are forced to do so, we would not hesitate to take our responsibilities”.
Caution during the holidays
As was the case during the end-of-year holidays, the government calls for the greatest vigilance and respect for barrier gestures as the school holidays approach, from Friday. Jean Castex made it clear during the question-and-answer game that if confinement were to be decided during the school holidays, the intention of the executive would be “to allow people to return to their homes”.
Reinforcement of controls
“The time has come for maximum respect for our common rules” adds the Prime Minister. To achieve this, its Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin detailed the strengthening of the means implemented to carry out checks on French territory. “From Saturday, the controls were intensified and will continue to be in the coming days,” promises Gerald Darmanin.
Regarding the respect of the curfew, the number of checks increased by 39% last weekend compared to the previous one and fines by 53%. Since December 15 (the day of deconfinement), 1.9 million checks have been carried out. The minister says he has asked for the utmost vigilance vis-à-vis underground parties, with the dismantling of dozens of events.
Controls are also stepped up at borders, both air and land. The number of air travelers has thus been divided by three since January 18, assures Gérald Darmanin. Land border controls have been stepped up, while the presentation of a negative PCR test is now compulsory, including by car.
Expected deployment of saliva tests in schools
France has for several months been one of the countries that performs the most in the world, welcomed Olivier Véran, announcing the figure of 4 tests per second.
The Minister of Health announces that he wants to increase the number of massive testing operations, especially in schools and universities. The minister said that the government hopes to be able to develop saliva tests for young students after the school holidays. On condition of obtaining the green light beforehand.
In nursing homes, all volunteers vaccinated by the end of the week
Since the launch of the vaccination campaign, reserved for the moment for the elderly and the most fragile, all the injections were carried out with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine or with that designed by Moderna.
Jean Castex welcomed the fact that the executive exceeded its own objectives in January. Especially in nursing homes, where all the volunteers will have received their first injection by the end of the week. The goal for February: four million first injections by the end of the month.
1.7 million new appointments
The Premier now explains wanting to accelerate for those over 75 and those at risk. Without “ignoring nothing” of the difficulties encountered by many French people, due to delivery delays.
The Prime Minister announced the opening of 1.7 million additional vaccination appointments for first injections. Namely 500,000 by the end of February, open tomorrow, and 1.2 million in March, open next week.
AstraZeneca: first injections on Saturday
As if to mark a new stage, the Prime Minister unveiled the consequences of the arrival in the country of the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca. Following the recommendations of the High Authority for Health, the executive has chosen not to administer it to over 65s.
Arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine: “This will allow us to accelerate” assures Jean Castex
The first deliveries, from the end of this week, will be reserved for nursing staff, says Jean Castex. The first injections are expected to start on Saturday.
Dose production in Europe… and in France
“France will be able to vaccinate by the end of the summer all the French who wish it”, confirms Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister Delegate in charge of Industry, who evokes a rise in production and deliveries.
This week, the President of the Republic announced that vaccines would be produced in the coming weeks and months at four French sites. France will help produce at least 3 vaccines: Moderna from March, BioNtech in April, CureVac in May if it obtains its authorization and Sanofi from June. Regarding Sanofi, the ministry details in Paris that the laboratory will start producing its vaccine in June in anticipation of phase 3, if the results of phase 2 are conclusive.
No slackening on teleworking
Since the start of the epidemic, the government has regularly called on companies to implement telework whenever it is possible. “Employees who can telework five days out of five must be able to do so,” reaffirms Élisabeth Borne, Minister of Labor.
After about 11 months of health crisis, the executive recently noted a certain erosion of the practice in several French companies.
The Minister of Labor called on companies to make more efforts to achieve two objectives:
The government however reaffirms the possibility offered to employees to return one day a week to their place of work, in order to break with a potentially heavy isolation for the spirits. A listening and support line (0800 130 000) is open for employees.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr