The French Government will confine from this midnight and for a month the inhabitants of Paris and 15 other departments to try to stop the third wave of the covid-19 epidemic and the advance of the British strain, which already represents three-quarters of positive cases in the country. It will only keep schools open in confined territories, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday. The measure affects a significant population, since only the Parisian region counts around thirteen million citizens.
In the rest of the country the curfew is maintained, but its start is delayed one hour to adapt to summer time. Thus, the order will be in effect between seven in the afternoon and six in the morning. Until now, it started at 6:00 p.m.
The president, Emmanuel Macron, rules out for now a third national confinement and opts for local quarantines where there is a higher incidence of the virus. In total, sixteen departments, located in the Paris region, the north of France and the south-west will be affected by the new restrictions, which will apply every day for four weeks. The country has a hundred departments and several of those facing closure are among the most populated. Others have a relevant tourist weight both inside and outside.
- Out of control.
The Government tries to put an epidemic that has already collapsed the capital’s ICUs
The Executive had considered the possibility of confining those territories only on weekends and maintaining the curfew for the rest of the week, as was already the case in Dunkirk, Nice and Pas-de-Calais. But it has finally decided to take more drastic measures in the face of the worsening health situation. Only the shops of first necessity will remain open, as well as the bookstores and record stores, in addition to the schools and institutes. In fact, one of the great principles of the French Government during this pandemic is to ensure educational activity and keep it safe from interruptions as happened last year.
The inhabitants of the sixteen areas will be able to go out for a walk or play sports without a time limit, but until seven in the afternoon. They must carry a receipt and move within a maximum radius of 10 kilometers around their home. Travel to other regions will be prohibited.
Maximum sanitary tension
The return to these radical measures to contain the virus is a warning and a mirror in which to look at the rest of European countries, where some outbreaks are already detected. The EU itself has echoed this change in trend with respect to the decline in cases in recent weeks, in what some see as the origin of a fourth wave and others, a new peak of the third that has not yet been exhausted.
The health situation is especially worrying in Île-de-France, the Paris region. The capital has an incidence rate of 388.9 per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 266.2 in the country as a whole (128.1 was the record in Spain this Thursday). The increase in patients generates tension in Paris hospitals, which currently have 104.7% of their ICU beds occupied by COVID-19 patients, compared to 83.9% in the whole of France. This has forced the deprogramming of non-urgent surgical operations and the transfer of serious coronavirus patients to other parts of the country with a lower incidence of the pandemic.
“We are facing a third wave of contamination. The big difference from preferential waves is that we now have one perspective: vaccination, ”said Castex. France will resume the campaign with the AstraZeneca drug this Friday after the European Medicines Agency endorsed its use. Paris had temporarily suspended this injection on Monday after thromboembolism detected in different European countries. Castex announced that he himself will take a first dose of AstraZeneca this Friday to show that it is a “safe vaccine.”
Since the end of December 5.7 million French people have received at least one injection. Paris wants to cradle 30 million by summer. With 91,431 deaths since the start of the pandemic, the neighboring country has so far had two national confinements (from March 17 to May 11 and from October 30 to December 15) and for three months all activity has ended at half afternoon. That is, in one year the French have been confined or with a curfew for about 200 days.
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