The mountain finally gave birth to a mouse. After several days of consultation with local elected officials, Bernard Gonzalez, the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes, announced restrictions in an attempt to stem the outbreak of the Covid epidemic in the department. While several scenarios had been mentioned in recent days, the reconfinement will ultimately be limited to the next two weekends and limited to only the coastal towns.
The highest incidence rate in France
The area concerned will go from Théoule-sur-Mer to Menton, or about 90% of the population of the department. Between Friday 6 p.m. and Monday 6 a.m., only outings of one hour within a radius of 5 km will be authorized. Additional measures, shops over 5,000 m 2, except pharmacies and food, will be closed. In the others, the gauge will be increased from 10 to 15 m 2 per visitor. Controls at Alpes-Maritimes airports and at the Italian border will also be “Reinforced”. The obligation to wear a mask was recalled.
These measures must stop the surge of Covid in the department. Visiting Nice on Saturday, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, sounded the alarm and felt that “Additional protective measures” had to be taken. The Alpes-Maritimes have the highest incidence rate in France, with 600 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which is three times the national average (190). The situation is even more worrying in Nice, where it exceeds 700 per 100,000. Hospital services are already “Close to saturation”, according to Romain Alexandre, from the regional health agency.
Massive vaccine deliveries
This surge seems mainly due to the English variant of Covid-19, much more contagious, and now the majority in the region. Despite the figures, local elected officials, mostly right-wingers, seemed to hesitate about the measures to be taken. Supported by the mayor of Nice, the LR Christian Estrosi, the confinement during the weekend was not favored by other mayors of the coast, such as that of Antibes, Jean Leonetti, who opposed restrictions for a problem considered mainly Nice. The announcement of a strengthening of the vaccine strategy in the department, however, is unanimous. According to the prefect, 4,500 additional doses of Pfizer vaccine will be delivered, in addition to the 90,000 planned. “Massive” deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine will also take place in the coming days. People aged 50 to 64 and suffering from co-morbidities will be able to be vaccinated.
The Alpes-Maritimes could just be ahead of the rest of the country. For several weeks, Moselle elected officials have been alerting to the situation and asking for local restrictions. With an incidence rate of 283 infections per 100,000 inhabitants, it is above all the presence of the South African variant in this department that is worrying. Already classified as a “risk zone” by neighboring Germany, the Moselle risked Monday becoming a “high incidence area” or even “area affected by variants of the virus”, which would entail an obligation of tests for cross-border workers. While acknowledging a general worsening of the level of contamination, Olivier Véran wanted to be reassuring. “It’s been four or five consecutive days that we have had a new increase in the circulation of the virus across the country, but we are not at all with the situation in the Alpes-Maritimes. “