Confinement ?

Curfew ?

The new Covid-19 defense council which will be held on Wednesday January 27 at the Elysee Palace should not lead to the feared announcement of a third confinement, the government leaving itself a few days to decide on new restrictions acceptable to the French.

"Is the curfew sufficient or not? This is the question we are asking," summarizes an adviser to the executive. 

To answer it, the government is waiting to be able to examine the results of two impact studies: one on the curfew at 6 p.m., the other on the progression of variants of the virus, full data of which is expected on Friday. 

Next "decisive" days

The next few days will therefore be "decisive", warned a government source.

Because "at this stage", there is "no reason" to decide on confinement, Minister of Industry Agnès Pannier-Runacher said on Tuesday. 

France "remains in an ambiguous period where the health situation is deteriorating, but not exponentially", summarizes a framework of the majority. 

As evidenced by the evolution of the daily data of the epidemic: the number of hospitalized patients continued to increase Tuesday, to 27,005, including 2,006 patients who arrived during the previous 24 hours.

According to Public Health France, 3,071 were in the intensive care unit against 2,829 a week earlier. 

In addition, 352 additional deaths have been recorded in hospital over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths caused by the epidemic to 74,106 in France, significantly less than in the United Kingdom, to the population comparable, which was the first European country on Tuesday to pass the 100,000 Covid death mark. 

Air traffic in question  

The English variant, particularly contagious, represented 9.4% of cases detected in Île-de-France between January 11 and 21, according to doctors from the Assistance publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP), for whom its progression augurs well for an upcoming "very significant" increase in the number of patients. 

In an attempt to limit its spread, the Defense Council could consider new restrictions on international travel, as Germany announced on Tuesday that it plans to, like Israel, reduce international air traffic to its territory "to almost nothing" . 

The government will also look into the "review clauses" fixed at the end of the month, such as that on ski resorts, Jean Castex to receive elected officials and mountain professionals next Monday. 

February school holidays 

The hypothesis of a new containment has grown in recent days on the basis of alarming statements from certain experts, such as Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, President of the Scientific Council. 

If it were to be finally decided soon, a third confinement would be neither like the first, in the spring of 2020, nor like the second, in the fall, "because we have learned lessons", specifies a member of the government.

He also wonders about the advisability of still calling it "confinement" in the event that the restrictions make it possible to keep schools in operation and businesses open with a strict health protocol. 

Professor Delfraissy put forward the idea of ​​seizing the February school holidays "as an opportunity" to "decide to close schools for three weeks instead of two, and to confine this period".

This is a "political decision," he said, however. 

In the meantime, the government is not trying to "play on the nerves" of the French, assured Tuesday Christophe Castaner, boss of LREM deputies, while "we can see that they are having more and more trouble with the restrictive measures" . 

The acceptability of the measures has become a central issue for many politicians, concerned about the riots that have occurred in the Netherlands since the entry into force of a "simple" curfew on Saturday. 

"If we are forced to set up a new containment, we will have to have the right words to explain it and defend its implementation," warns an adviser to the executive.  

Health, economic, social and psychological consequences 

Before the deputies, Jean Castex reaffirmed his strategy on Tuesday: "When health concerns are weighed against completely legitimate economic concerns, I will always prioritize the health of our fellow citizens".

But taking "into account all the economic, social and psychological consequences", he added. 

On the vaccination front, Sanofi has announced that it will help Pfizer and BioNTech to produce their vaccine against Covid-19 and should package more than 100 million doses intended for the European Union by the end of 2021. 

The French group will use its German factory in Frankfurt to bottle the vaccine that will be supplied to it by its competitors from July, said Paul Hudson, its managing director, at Le Figaro. 

But, in the shorter term, the vaccine strategy will face a major pitfall, since AstraZeneca will only deliver 4.6 million doses of its vaccine to France by the end of March, i.e. half less than expected, according to the Ministry of Health. 

In total, nearly 1.2 million people (1,184,510 to be precise) have received a first dose of the vaccine since the start of the campaign launched at the very end of December. 

With AFP

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