Most of France now becomes “red” zones


The number was confirmed in an update from the Department of Health on Saturday, September 19.A “red” status means that the “epidemic dynamics” are deteriorating and that the level of incidence is more than 50 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants during the last seven days. In some areas, a department can be declared “red” when the incident level reaches 30.

On Saturday, 13 more departments were added to the “red” list, bringing the total number to 55. These included Marne, Haute-Marne, Tarn, Vienne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Aveyron, Calvados, Doubs, Eure, Gers, Indre-et-Loire, Saône-et-Loire and Territoire de Belfort.

On a practical level, a “red” status gives departmental authorities additional powers to impose rules such as the introduction of a limit on gatherings and the closure of places that normally offer public access (such as bars, restaurants. and cinemas).

Authorities can also impose rules such as compulsory masks in high-traffic public areas or in all public spaces.

The restrictions vary by department.

Among the new rules are:

Calvados – Mask required in several busy streets and squares. Lawns and gardens prohibited between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Indre-et-Loire – Ban on public dance evenings and cocktails. Increased testing. Masks compulsory in some cities and on all university campuses, even outside.

Doubs – Regional health agency the Regional Health Agency (ARS) and local authorities are expected to introduce new measures from today (Monday September 21).

The most recent figures from the health organization Public Health France (SPF) on Sunday, September 20, showed 10,569 new cases in the past 24 hours and 12 additional deaths. There were 3,894 new hospitalizations in the previous seven days, including 593 in intensive care. There are 1,045 cluster outbreaks investigated, with 40 more confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Red zones … but schools relax the rules as “low risk children”

The rise of “red” zones comes as the health council the High Council for Public Health (HCSP) announced a relaxation of the current “health protocol” in schools from Tuesday September 22.

The new rules will mean that if a child tests positive for the virus, they will have to self-isolate at home, but “classes will continue as normal for other students, who will no longer be considered contacts.”

The Ministry of Education confirmed the changes on Sunday, September 20. The Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, declared: “It will be more likely that of three new cases. [rather than only one], that we might be about to close the class.

Previously, the rules stipulated that if even a child tested positive for the virus, all of their co-students and teachers would be considered “contacts,” requiring the entire class to be tested and the class to be closed for at least seven days. It would only be allowed to reopen seven days after the last confirmed case.

The minister said this system would still apply, but only if three or more children tested positive in the classroom.

Likewise, teachers and teacher assistants who wear masks at work will no longer be considered “contacts”, even if they have cared for or taught a student who subsequently tested positive.

The HCSP explained that children are not considered high risk cases. He said: “Children are at very low risk of contracting a severe form of the disease and are not very active in spreading the virus.”

Currently, nearly 2,000 classes in 76 schools (and nearly 90 schools or educational establishments) in France are closed due to Covid-19 (out of 61,000 schools in total). It is hoped that the new rules will allow more classes and schools to remain open.

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