Paris (AFP)

A week after a contested turn of the screw in some cities to fight against the progression of Covid-19, whose indicators have deteriorated, the government is delaying and it is time for consultation with local elected officials.

While the Minister of Health Olivier Véran must draw up at 6:00 p.m. at the Bichat hospital the weekly picture of the situation, an exercise now expected and feared, Prime Minister Jean Castex has taken the lead by receiving in Matignon the mayors and presidents of metropolises of Paris, Lyon, Lille, before those of Toulouse and Grenoble.

According to several sources interviewed by AFP, the large metropolises, some of which feared reaching Marseille in the maximum alert zone, synonymous with the total closure of bars and restaurants, are heading Thursday towards a status quo, time to assess the effectiveness of the provisions already announced last week.

"Tonight is still a little early to announce changes in the classification of metropolises," said Mr. Castex's entourage to AFP.

"Unless the indicators deteriorate very sharply, we must leave a little time between the first measures taken last week", such as the closure of bars at 10 p.m. and sports halls, "which came into force 4-5 days ago, and observing the effects, "we added.

- "Right balance" -

"We asked the Prime Minister, who accepted it, to give us 15 days from last Saturday, that is to say another 10 days, to check whether the measures that had been taken by the government (. ..) bear fruit "and are reflected in a reduction in the incidence rate, the mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry, whose city is in a heightened alert zone, the stadium before the maximum alert told the press. , like ten other metropolises, including Paris.

For the government, it is a question of being more attentive to local elected representatives, after the trial in lack of consultation launched by the Marseille elected officials, unhappy after the closure of restaurants and bars in the metropolis of Aix-Marseille , classified in the maximum alert zone.

The main signals of the epidemic remain at a worrying level.

More than 1,200 people with Covid-19 are currently in intensive care in France, including 135 in the last 24 hours, according to figures from Public Health France on Wednesday.

A figure much lower than the levels reached during the peak of the epidemic (7,000 patients in sheaves at the beginning of April), but which is progressing rapidly - there were less than 500 cases at the beginning of September.

With 12,845 new cases of Covid-19 confirmed in 24 hours, the test positivity rate reached 7.6%, against 4% at the beginning of September.

"If we want to preserve the rest of the hospitalization (...) the size of hospitals, the size of the services is not constantly expandable and we will have to make the balance, act on the places where we have a great promiscuity" , warned on RMC Karine Lacombe, head of the infectious diseases department at Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris.

According to her, there is nevertheless a "happy medium" to be found "before the reconfinement".

- Legal respite -

In Ile-de-France, the occupancy rate of intensive care beds for patients with Covid-19 reached 32.1% on Tuesday, above the critical threshold of 30%.

The turn of the screw decided last week by the government, the most important since the end of containment on May 11, angered the sectors concerned, already hard hit in the spring.

In the wake of the media chef from Bordeaux Philippe Etchebest, the Union des trades et des industries de l'hôtellerie (Umih) called on "all business leaders and their employees" to "make noise" in front of their establishment, every Friday and to display a "sign of mourning".

Professionals have also turned to justice for respite.

After setbacks on Wednesday in Bordeaux and Marseillle, Rennes sports halls won their case before the administrative court, which on Thursday suspended the closure of their establishments.

In this context, the National Assembly must decide this Thursday on the extension of the transitional regime of exit from the state of health emergency, to allow the government to continue to decree restrictions in the coming months.

© 2020 AFP