France: the epidemic seems to be on the decline, questions about Christmas

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After an outbreak of contaminations, the COVID-19 epidemic seems to be regressing and the curves of new hospital admissions are stabilizing in France, but “it is too early to claim victory”, the government warned on Monday, faced with many requests concerning Christmas.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

“We are gradually regaining control, but there are still many new patients,” said the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, from an airport in Lyon (center-east) where he attended the transfer of two patients to the western region, due to the saturation of certain hospitals.

  • Listen to international political columnist Loïc Tassé with Benoit Dutrizac on QUB Radio:

At the national level, the pressure remains strong, with more than 33,000 people hospitalized, including 4,896 in intensive care units, ie almost all of the beds initially assigned to intensive care, the number of which has since been increased.

In addition, if the number of positive cases diagnosed has slightly decreased, the level “remains high, between 20,000 and 30,000 (cases) per day”, noted the minister in an interview with the group of regional newspapers Ebra, calling for “Continue” the efforts.

The slowdown in the epidemic is starting to have an effect on hospital admissions. Sunday, Public Health France reported 17,390 new hospitalizations over the last seven days, a downward trend since November 9.

At the same time, 2,761 COVID-19 patients have been admitted to intensive care units over the past seven days, while this indicator still exceeded 3,000 at the start of last week.

“It seems that there is an inflection of the curve of new cases, but the hospitals are always full, the resuscitations are always full, so we are not there yet”, summarized on the radio Europe 1 Philippe Juvin, Chief of Emergency at the Georges Pompidou European Hospital in Paris.

It is in this context that the government faces the challenge of the end of the year celebrations.

“The uncertainties (…) are still too numerous to project precisely”, declared Olivier Véran, while promising a reduction in containment if the trajectory is maintained, “without (it) lifting completely”.

In particular, the government is faced with increasingly pressing demands to reopen all businesses as quickly as possible, beyond so-called “essential” goods, in order to save many independents from bankruptcy.

After demonstrations this weekend, in Nice and Marseille, several hundred of them gathered on Monday in the center of Perpignan (southwest) for a “funeral morning”.

For now, the government is discussing the possibility of a reopening on December 1, excluding cafes and restaurants.

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