The Aix-Marseille metropolis was declared in a maximum alert zone on Wednesday, resulting in a total closure of bars and restaurants for two weeks. Contesting the diagnosis and the method, the mayor of Marseille, Michèle Rubirola claims ten days of delay before applying new measures.

The incidence of the coronavirus has decreased in recent days in Marseille and its surroundings, but this could be an effect of the delay in screening.

There will be no pastis on the terrace for the last beautiful days of the year. Bars in Marseille will be closed on Saturday, to reduce the coronavirus epidemic, announced the Minister of Health Olivier Véran on Wednesday evening. Claiming not to have been “Consulted”, just informed, the mayor of the city, Michèle Rubirola expressed his “Astonishment” and his “Anger”. “Nothing in the health situation justifies this announcement. I do not accept that the Marseillais are victims of political decisions that no one can understand ”, attacked the councilor on Twitter. She claims ten days delay before the application of new measures.

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In Marseille, one has the feeling of being stigmatized and the victim of unfair restrictions on freedoms. However, there are three criteria for appearing in the “maximum alert zone”, and the Aix-Marseille metropolitan area ticks them all. In town, the incidence is greater than 250 new contaminations in one week per 100,000 inhabitants. Among people over 65, who are more vulnerable, it rises to 180 per 100,000. And in the region, at the scale of which hospitalizations are organized, 150 Covid patients are in intensive care, including 20 admitted on Tuesday alone.

The vagueness of the Marseille figures

But most of these figures are not public. Public Health France only communicates data by department, and the Bouches-du-Rhône had an incidence rate of 209 per 100,000 over the week of September 14 to 20, against a national average of 99 per 100,000. This is the highest rate in metropolitan France… after the department of Paris, at 217 per 100.00. However, the capital is only in an enhanced alert zone for the moment.

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Otherwise, “Official state figures show constant improvement”, points out the first deputy of the city of Marseille, Benoît Payan, via Twitter. Indeed, the incidence rate of Bouches-du-Rhône has recently declined. Olivier Véran has also noted this “Very slight improvement since last week” Wednesday, to add immediately “But we must be careful because we do not have enough perspective”.

“Every week counts”

Perhaps the drop is a consequence of last week’s ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, following the early 12.30am closure of bars and restaurants since September 5. Unless we can no longer count the new contaminations properly: “Part or all of it may be related to a delay in communication of PCR tests”, points out Professor Renaud Piarroux, at the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP).

As for the 10-day period requested by Marseille, it is too long, when it takes 15 days on average for a newly infected patient to arrive in intensive care, ruled the director general of the AP-HP Martin Hirsch, Thursday. These restrictive measures, “Thinking about them now, applying them in ten days, is seeing the effect in only 25 days. Every week counts », he warned.

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The story of the coronavirus crisis at the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris