France: epidemic seems to decline, questions about Christmas

After an outbreak of contamination, the Covid-19 epidemic seems to decline and the curves of new hospital entrances stabilize in France, but โ€œit is too early to shout victory,โ€ warned the government on Monday, faced numerous requests regarding Christmas.

โ€œWe are gradually regaining control but still there are many new patients,โ€ said Health Minister Olivier Vรฉran from an airport in Lyon (central east) where he witnessed the transfer of two patients to the western region, due to a saturation of some hospitals.

At the national level, the pressure remains high, with more than 33,000 people hospitalized, of whom 4,896 are in the intensive care services, almost all of the beds initially assigned to intensive care, the number of which has since increased.

Moreover, while the number of positive cases diagnosed has decreased slightly, the level โ€œremains high, between 20,000 and 30,000 (cases) per dayโ€, noted the minister in an interview with the group of regional newspapers Ebra, calling for โ€œcontinueโ€ efforts.

The slowdown of the epidemic is beginning to have its effect on hospital entrances. On Sunday, Santรฉ publique 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 were admitted to the resuscitation services over the last seven days, while this indicator still exceeded 3,000 at the beginning of last week.

โ€œIt seems that there is an inflection of the curve of new cases, but hospitals are still full, resuscitation is always full, so we are not there yet,โ€ said Philippe Juvin, head of emergencies at the European hospital Georges Pompidou in Paris.

It is in this context that the government is facing the holiday challenge.

โ€œUncertainties (…) are still too numerous to project itself precisely,โ€ said Olivier Vรฉran, while promising a lightening of containment if the trajectory continues, โ€œwithout (it) lift completelyโ€.

In particular, the government is confronted with increasingly pressing demands to reopen all businesses as soon as possible, beyond the so-called โ€œessentialโ€ goods, in order to save many independents from bankruptcy.

After demonstrations this weekend, in Nice and Marseille, several hundred of them gathered Monday in the center of Perpignan (south-west) for a โ€œfuneral morningโ€.

For the moment, the government is talking about the possibility of a reopening on 1 December, excluding cafes and restaurants.