Is it too early for France to ease Covid restrictions? – fr

Is it too early for France to ease Covid restrictions? – fr

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                La France va commencer à sortir de son «lockdown lite» lundi avec la levée de la limite de 10 km de déplacement.  Et si les conditions sanitaires locales le permettent, les terrasses, les magasins et les cinémas rouvriront le 19 mai.  Le président Emmanuel Macron mise sur un retour au «mode de vie à la française» mais certains experts de la santé préviennent que c'est un pari irresponsable qui pourrait inaugurer une quatrième vague.

                                    <p>Macron a présenté jeudi dernier son calendrier en quatre étapes pour assouplir les restrictions de Covid.  D'ici le 30 juin, les Français peuvent s'attendre à manger au restaurant, à faire du shopping, à assister à des événements culturels et à mettre fin au couvre-feu du soir.

There are, however, conditions for such freedom and the French authorities will be able to activate “emergency brakes” in areas where the virus is circulating at too high a rate.

These emergency brakes can be applied in any city or department having recorded an incidence rate over 7 days of more than 400 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

A sudden jump in tariffs and intense pressure on local health services could also slow reopening.

At present, eight departments have an incidence rate above 400.

It is Paris, several areas of the Ile-de-France region and the southern department of Bouches-du-Rhône which includes the second largest city in France, Marseille.

Booking a prime seat on a candlelit patio or a visit to the theater may be premature.

‘Fourth wave risk’

What’s more, some doctors and health experts believe it’s just too early to lift health restrictions.

While the number of Covid infections and ICU admissions has declined slightly over the past two weeks, the latest official data shows France still has more than 25,000 new cases per day (well above the target of 5,000 set in autumn 2020) and a little less than 6,000 patients in intensive care (double the target set by Macron at the end of 2020).

“It’s clearly too fast considering what we are going through,” said Jean-François Timsit, head of the intensive care unit at Bichat hospital in Paris. “We can see the curve is going down but the hospitals are saturated, it’s absolutely terrifying.”

Like many hospitals in Île-de-France, Bichat remains under strong pressure with intensive care units at full occupancy. Timsit said France Inter radio, there would be serious consequences for patients requiring non-Covid medical care.

“There is not the slightest space for anyone, neither for people with Covid nor for patients suffering from other pathologies,” he said. “Patients stay in intensive care for at least three or four weeks when they are intubated […] It is therefore unthinkable that we have emptied the intensive care units in a few days.

Djillali Annane, president of the union of resuscitation doctors (SMR), admitted that the lifting of the lockdown was premature. “This will clearly complicate the management of the health crisis and run the risk of a fourth wave in the fall,” he said. The world. “Allowing everyone to travel from May 3 will certainly not slow down contamination, on the contrary. “

The vaccination factor

For epidemiologist Karine Lacombe, responsible for infectious diseases at Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris, Macron made “another political bet”. “The only way out is to expand the immunization program,” she said. Release Daily.

Macron could well make a risky decision and whether it turns out to be the right one will depend on the success of France’s vaccination program.

Painfully slow to take off, the deployment of vaccination has accelerated in recent weeks. According to Covidtracker, more than 15 million people in France have now received a first vaccine (29.7% of the adult population) and more than 6 million, or just over 12% of adults, are fully vaccinated.

From June 15, Covid jabs will be available to all adults.

Choice, not a bet

In his interview last Thursday, Macron said he made a balanced decision, “a choice, not a bet”, adding that there was “more to the life of the nation than curves on a chart”.

But there is an element of risk nonetheless.

As Covid-19 appears to thrive in cooler weather, it is hoped that the weather in France will improve and the variants in India and Brazil do not gain a foothold here.

“The president set a strategy a few weeks ago and he doesn’t want to go back to it,” said Dr Timsit. “I hope I am wrong and that we will manage to vaccinate enough people, that everyone will be outside and that there will be no disaster. But we are nevertheless very worried.

Above all, he says, the test, trace and isolate protocol must be respected much better in France and the follow-up of contact cases more drastic than today. “If we want the lifting of the lockdown to be successful, we must lose some of the sacred individual freedoms for a few weeks.”



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