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The state of health emergency, what would that change?

For the twelve metropolises or departments on “maximum” alert, including Paris and the inner suburbs, this is the last possible step. The state of health emergency could be announced in certain territories by Emmanuel Macron, this Wednesday evening, in his television interview on TF1 and France 2, a sign of new measures to come.

As we revealed this afternoon, the Council of Ministers examined this morning a decree relating to the state of health emergency. This regime can be applied to the whole country or locally, as was the case until September 16 in Mayotte and Guyana. It can allow the prefects of the areas concerned to impose additional restrictions, which may go as far as local re-containment. We take stock.

On what criteria is a territory placed in a state of health emergency?

When the Minister of Health Olivier Véran presented the new map of the epidemic, on September 23, four alert levels were planned: the simple alert, the reinforced alert, the maximum alert and the state of health emergency.

To put a department or a metropolis in a state of health emergency, three indicators must exceed a certain threshold. The incidence rate (number of new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a week) must be greater than 250, that among people 65 and over must be greater than 100, and the proportion of Covid patients in intensive care must exceed 60%, details the Ministry of Health.

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But beware: the General Directorate of Health (DGS) told us a few days ago that the incidence rates were examined at the metropolitan level, while the intensive care occupancy rate was at the same level. regional (in order to avoid bias when a patient is treated in a neighboring department of the same region and which has a large hospital center). The DGS specifies that a “manual” analysis is carried out in addition, which means that a territory whose indicators are just below the thresholds can still “switch” to the higher alert level if the situation is in the process of deteriorating. get worse. Moreover, when the Aix Marseille metropolis went on maximum alert, on March 23, the intensive care occupancy rate across the entire Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region was less than 30%.

How is the state of health emergency in a territory declared?

The state of health emergency was established throughout France on March 23, 2020. Then, the Law of July 9, 2020 “organizing the exit from the state of health emergency” ended this regime (except in Guyana and Mayotte, where it was not lifted until September 17). But the texts provide for the possibility of re-establishing it in a territory “when the local evolution of the health situation endangers the health of the population”.

This goes through a decree taken in the Council of Ministers, after receiving a report from the Minister of Health. The public health code specifies that “the scientific data available on the health situation which motivated the decision are made public”. The Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) must be informed “without delay” of the measures taken by the government and it can “request any additional information in the context of the control and evaluation of these measures”.

Note that this post-state health emergency transitional regime is scheduled to last until October 30. A text extending it until April 1 was adopted by the National Assembly on the night of October 1 to 2. It is currently under consideration in the Senate.

What additional measures are planned?

The state of health emergency makes it possible to go a step further than the maximum alert. The Ministry of Health cites many “automatic” measures, including the closure of cinemas and the ban on team sports.

The prefect can also decide to prohibit leaving the home (apart from several reasons: health problem, food shopping, etc.). This is the equivalent of local reconfinement, which the government has not excluded in recent weeks. In case of violation of the prohibitions, there is a risk of a fixed fine of 135 euros.

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