COVID-19: In the middle of summer, France fears a big fire

Paris | Extension of the health passport by law, vaccination with vengeance, a reminder of barrier gestures: At the heart of the summer holidays, France seeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 cases due to the delta variant and, above all, to avoid it do not touch the hospital.

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The adoption of such measures is “urgent”, according to Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the scientific council that directs the government. “The return to normal is not now, maybe 2022 (or) 2023,” he said on BFM TV on Friday.

About 4,500 on July 9, 10900 on July 16, 22,000 Now: From week to week, the number of daily cases more than doubled due to the delta variable. “We will probably reach 50,000 cases at the beginning of August,” Professor Delfrisse warned.

“For the first time in 15 weeks,” the increase in cases is accompanied by a “net increase in the hospitalization rate (+55%) and the number of patients admitted to critical care services (+35%),” the French Public Health Agency (SPF) said in its weekly report.

To prevent the delta variant, which first appeared in India and is “highly contagious”, it is necessary to “strongly encourage vaccination in order to avoid a sharp increase in the number of hospitalized patients and potential hospital tensions,” explained during a “Laetitia press point” Huiart, Scientific Director in SPF.

A large proportion of the elderly (particularly those over 80) or the frail have not yet been vaccinated (more than 5 million people are at risk, according to health insurance), SPF experts have decried.

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Prime Minister Jan Casteks called for the deployment “as quickly and efficiently” of the strategy outlined on 12 July, of “amplifying the vaccination campaign and spreading the health passport”.

The controversial extension of this passport (vaccination or negative test) that will soon be required in bars, restaurants and big malls, as well as the vaccination obligation for caregivers, was voted 117 to 86 against, in the National Assembly at the end of a sleepless night of controversy. atheism.

A new demonstration against the passport

The bill is now before the Senate, before it can be adopted by the government before the end of the weekend.

The passport provokes the opposition of part of the population, in the name of respect for individual liberties: rallies on July 17 gathered more than 110 thousand people across France, according to official figures, and a new demonstration is scheduled for Saturday in Paris.

Several unions have denounced it as an “assault on freedom of action”, with provisions going as far as firing public servants and officials who refuse to submit to a health passport.

This document, which has already become mandatory since Wednesday in cultural and entertainment venues, will be extended at the beginning of August to bars and restaurants as well as transport (airplanes, trains, long-distance coaches) and all healthcare institutions at that time at the end of August for their employees.

Meanwhile, the announcement of the extension of vaccination gave a huge boost: of a total of 67 million people, 58% of the population has now received at least one dose, and 48% are fully vaccinated.

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But vaccination will not do everything: “In the context of very extensive pollution, we must return to simple barrier measures,” insisted Professor Delfrisee, advising the mask even to vaccinate “in case of crowds” and bad places. According to him, with these means we can “earn a probability of 20% in terms of hospitalization”.

In total, 111,587 people have officially died of COVID in France since the start of the pandemic.

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