Leaving containment is not for now. This is in essence the message passed by Edouard Philippe, who judged "probable" that the deconfinement would not be done "in one go, everywhere and for everyone" in France. "We asked several teams to work on this question by studying the opportunity, the feasibility of a deconfinement which would be regionalized, which would be subject to a policy of tests, depending, who knows, on age groups", said the Prime Minister on Wednesday before a fact-finding mission to the National Assembly.
But this exit strategy, which should take several weeks to develop, depends on many factors that are still unknown, such as the evolution of the coronavirus pandemic. Europe 1 explains why the release from confinement, for the time scheduled until April 15, will be graduated in time and space.
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Fear of new outbreaks
Containment aims to smooth out the peak of the epidemic and the number of hospitalized patients over time. But the authorities fear that an exit from these measures would lead to the appearance of new epidemic outbreaks, especially in less affected regions like the West.
"The fear is simple: part of the population will not have had the disease yet. For influenza, once the peak is reached, there is a rapid decrease. But for the coronavirus it is a little different. will have a peak, maybe within 8 days, then a plateau phase with people who will stay sick. The fear is that once people return to collective life, other homes will start to burn, especially in the West of France ", explains doctor Jimmy Mohamed on Europe 1.
"Going on vacation will be a key step. If Parisians decide to go to the countryside, especially in Normandy, they may spread the disease and cause a new outbreak. There are many parameters that we do not know. not control ", continues the doctor. Christophe Castaner thus firmly reminded the French of the ban on going on vacation, a few days before the start of the spring school holidays. "Very concretely, we do not leave during the confinement period", declared on LCI the Minister of the Interior, who also announced a reinforcement of the road controls on the main axes, in the stations and the airports.
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Tests, the key to a way out of the crisis
Containment is currently scheduled to last until April 15, but is expected to be extended further. "If the peak of the epidemic is reached in 10 days, to that we will have to add the 14 days of incubation, that brings us straight away at the end of April without having a breath of oxygen. The confinement will probably last until May, or even more, "said Jimmy Mohamed.
But the key to getting out of containment is testing. Indeed, a massive screening of the coronavirus, on a very large part of the French population, is necessary before considering any lifting of these measures, according to many doctors and scientists.
"Serology will be important (so-called serological tests are those carried out by blood sample, note ). If you are positive, you are not at risk of catching the disease and transmitting it." Indeed, a positive serological test means that the person has developed antibodies against the coronavirus, and is therefore now immune. "We can imagine a device to 'let pass' for these people, who could go out and go back to work", judge Jimmy Mohamed.
Problem: the number of tests available (nearly 30,000 per day currently) is largely insufficient for the moment. Serological tests will only be available "in the next few days, the next few weeks", according to Minister of Health Olivier Véran. As for the "rapid tests", which will give results in a few minutes, their real ramp-up (100,000 per day) is not expected until June.
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Many parameters still unknown
In the absence of mass screening, the authorities do not yet have a clear vision of the spread of the disease. The government therefore seems to anticipate a long-term crisis, as evidenced by the import of more than a billion masks, while France currently consumes 40 million per week. It must be said that many parameters remain unknown, such as the seasonality of the virus, which seems to resist heat well as indicated by its implantation in Africa. "We still have scientific data to collect," admitted government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye on Wednesday.
Faced with these uncertainties, the executive refuses for the moment to move forward on a way out of the crisis. "For now, we have to tell people that we are day to day. It is with the evolution of the epidemic that we can take measures, it is impossible to announce today possible scenario ", approves Doctor Jimmy Mohamed.
In the United Kingdom, health authorities have already announced that the measures put in place to contain the disease would be reviewed "every three weeks" for "probably six months" or more, while a possible vaccine does not would not arrive before 2021. A large part of the French must therefore prepare to live in confinement for several weeks or even months.