The Prime Minister announced the extension of the curfew to 38 new departments and French Polynesia. “We don’t have much time left” before “much harsher measures”, he warned, stressing that “the number of deaths will continue to increase”.
Across Europe, the coronavirus epidemic is on the rise, the public authorities are making drastic decisions, and France is no exception to the rule, on the contrary. This Thursday, during the weekly press conference devoted to the Covid, Jean Castex announced the extension of the curfew to 38 additional departments plus an overseas territory, French Polynesia. Until now, it affected Guadeloupe, Ile-de-France and eight metropolises (Lille, Aix-Marseille, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble, Lyon, Rouen, Toulouse and Montpellier).
So 54 departments and an overseas territory will have a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for six weeks, from Friday midnight, or 46 million French people concerned. Nearly 20 million French people have already been living under this restrictive regime since last Saturday. The curfew no longer targets only metropolitan areas but entire departments, some of which have not yet entered the maximum alert zone. “The virus is accelerating, we must anticipate more”, justified the Prime Minister.
“The situation is serious”, “the month of November will be trying, we already know that”, exposed Jean Castex, and “The number of deaths will continue to increase”. The current contaminations, which exceed 1,000 new cases per hour, will cause the deaths of tomorrow, in two or three weeks. The occupancy rate of resuscitation beds by Covid patients has exceeded 44%, and even 50% in four regions. It’s only a beginning. The nine-day projections are not reassuring.
The figures that explain the extension of the curfew in France
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15 to 18 days to produce effects
Indeed, the health trajectory will continue to deteriorate until the initial curfew begins to take effect – it took between 15 and 18 days for the spring confinement to begin to show in hospitals. “Next week, we’ll see if it starts to reduce viral circulation enough” in order to revise the rules. It will then be time, if necessary, to relax them, or “Possibly harden them”, warned Jean Castex, “With the absolute will to save lives” and of “To preserve the reception capacity at the hospital”.
More than half of resuscitation beds could be occupied in France in nine days
If new measures were not taken, the number of daily contaminations detected would double to more than 50,000 per day, underlined for his part the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran. The epidemic which seemed to have stalled at the end of September resumed very strongly in early October, surprising all of Europe. ” Perhaps “ due to the cold snap, assumed the minister. However, “The epidemic management measures had started to slow down its spread”.
During this press conference, the head of government sought to convince the French to agree to new efforts. “I call again and again for national solidarity. Otherwise, we will have to consider much tougher measures. We don’t have much time left ”, he warned. The threat of containment looms more and more – indeed, Ireland and Wales have had to come to terms with it.
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In order to defeat the skepticism of the French in the face of the constraints imposed on them, the crisis medical director of the Lariboisière hospital, Etienne Gayat, was invited to testify. He explained that one could not take the ostrich in the face of the seriousness of the disease, half of people in intensive care are under 60 years old, and 15 to 20% under 40 years. In these services, mortality rises to 15-20%, not counting those leaving who die during the year, or who have serious consequences. It is necessary “Do everything to avoid intensive care admissions”, he begged.
With the extension of the curfew, additional aid will have to be released to help businesses closed early. The bill which already amounted to 1 billion euros per month for the nine metropolises will increase to 1.3 to 1.5 billion euros, according to the Minister for the Budget, Olivier Dussopt. Jean Castex guaranteed the sectors concerned – hotels, bars, restaurants, culture, events, sport… – that they would be supported. Early closures are not a « sanction », but from the “Prevention”, he explained.
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