Resumption of the epidemic in France and turn of the screw in Europe to crisscross the holidays

    Resumption of the epidemic in France and turn of the screw in Europe to crisscross the holidays

    Emmanuel Macron is doing well. The Head of State, positive for Covid and isolation in the official residence of La Lanterne in Versailles, “Still has the same symptoms of Covid-19 disease (fatigue, cough, stiffness) which in no way prevent him from fulfilling his functions “, specifies a brief press release, signed by Doctor Jean-Christophe Perrochon, Chief Medical Officer of the Presidency of the Republic. A way to vary the communication that the President wants transparent and daily on his state of health, as he committed to on Friday on his video in pale selfie mode.

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    The same cannot be said for France, in the throes of a threatening rebound, less than a week before the start of the holidays. “We are really on an increase in the circulation of the virus, a resumption of the epidemic.” The warning comes from Sophie Vaux, epidemiologist at Public Health France, during an online press briefing this Friday. This worsening, even limited, comes at a time when France, where the number of deaths has just exceeded the 60,000 mark, was already “At a worrying level in terms of new cases, hospital load, and that we are on the eve of two particular weeks, which are weeks of leave, reunion, meetings”, adds Laëtitia Huiart, scientific director of the public health agency.

    With a peak around 60,000 contaminations per day at the end of October, before dropping sharply thanks to the re-containment and the All Saints’ Day holidays, the number of cases of contamination stabilized at a high level (around 12,000 new cases per day. day) and has even started to increase again, as highlighted in the last weekly epidemiological bulletin published by Public Health France.

    On the healthcare system side, the number of new admissions to hospital and intensive care units of patients diagnosed with Covid-19 positive, still down 9% and 16% respectively in the first week of December, has started to rise again. last week. During the week of December 7 to 13, 8,608 new patients with Covid-19 were hospitalized (+ 2%) and 1,146 (+ 2% also) were admitted to intensive care.

    Italy classified as “red”

    With this in mind, the French government fears the mixing of the end-of-year celebrations and its possible repercussions on a resumption of the epidemic. He is not the only one. All over Europe, some countries are becoming aware of the risks engendered by the holiday season. And now is the turn to avoid a third wave. “Half-closed: yes for dinner”, “Christmas in red, with two parents”, headline the transalpine newspapers this Saturday. The whole country will be classified “red” – the strictest level of containment – for Christmas and the New Year. The Italians will however have the right to leave their homes to participate in a family meal with limited covers, ruled a decree published on Saturday.

    They will be able to travel once a day in their own region to visit relatives or friends, outside of the existing curfew (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.). The government consents to the invitation to the home of two guests, relatives or friends, accompanied by their children if they are at most 14 years old.

    Read also : Covid-19: WHO accused of conspiring with Italy to suppress damning report

    These announcements are part of a larger strategy: after days of procrastination, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte finally announced Friday evening a graduated containment plan running from December 21 to January 6. It aims to reduce travel and gatherings during the most festive days, while the spread of the coronavirus remains high in the country.

    From Monday December 21, it will be formally prohibited to move from one Italian region to another, except for health or professional reasons, also establishes the decree. This decision foreshadows crowded trains and planes this weekend for Italians wishing to join their families in another region.

    From December 24 until January 6, all bars and restaurants will be closed but will be able to sell to take away, to the chagrin of restaurateurs to whom the government had dangled an opening for the holidays. To swallow the pill, new financial aid (645 million euros) has been announced for the sector. Only food shops, pharmacies, tobacconists and newspapers, bookstores, but also hairdressers and laundries may open during this period. Ditto for religious celebrations, which will also be authorized until 10 p.m.

    The government has nevertheless agreed during this confinement four days classified “orange”, a breath of freedom where all businesses will be able to reopen their doors (December 28, 29, 30 and January 4) until 9 p.m. Italians will be able to walk freely inside their municipality during these four days, without special authorization.

    Third confinement in Austria

    Rather spared by the first wave after being confined early, Austria will establish a third general confinement from December 26, while sanctioning those recalcitrant in the tests, announced Friday the government. After January 18, only residents who have undergone an antigen test will be able to resume social life before the general lifting of restrictions planned at this stage for all on January 24.

    “This is the only way to reopen tourism, culture and gastronomy in times of pandemic and at the same time to prevent the numbers from exploding again”, assured Conservative Chancellor Sebastian Kurz at a press conference.

    Stores, bookstores, museums and schools, which reopened on December 7, will close again until January 18. The same fate for hotels, restaurants, sports halls and theaters, which had not yet been able to reopen on the 7th. Maintaining the opening of outdoor sports, therefore ski lifts for alpine skiing , from December 24, is left to the appreciation of local and regional authorities.

    In the country, and as in the rest of the European Union, the vaccination campaign must begin gradually from January 27.

    Romain Métairie

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