Emergency re-containment: the government's plan in the event of second wave

Published by Julie M., Caroline J., Rizhlaine F., Cécile D. · Published on 19 July 2020 at 18h12 · Updated on 20 July 2020 at 14h16
France has exited containment on May 11th, 2020. To be ready in case a second Covid-19 wave happens, Jean Castex – entrusted with deconfinement at the government – has proposed a re-containment plan. And prudence is required. The senior civil servant warns that "emergency re-containment should be anticipated" and implemented "if the number of positive cases per day was to double up in comparison with what it is today".

Deconfinement has started this May 11th, 2020. Yet, the government and experts fear a second Covid-19 contamination wave. An hypothesis that is more and more likely. Two months later, as France is experiencing a growing number of infections in some areas, and that in Spain, more and more cities are put on lockdown again, we wonder if we shall expect another lockdown.

More recently, a local-based re-containment plan has been set up by the government that experienced a shiffle. Jean Castex - now Prime Minister - was known so far as "Mister Deconfinement". If the targeted plan that could be implemented in the event a dramatic increase of the epidemic on a local basis happens is not known yet, prior to containment exit on May 11, 2020, he imagined an emergency re-containment plan. He was then State Senior Civil Servant.

Tweet reads: “On the matter of possible local re-containment: ‘As for departments in red, if the circulation of COVID19 is intense, we could set up measures fit to the circumstances. We’ve worked on a re-containment plan’ Jean Castex”.

In the event of a relapse then, Jean Castex has worked on a re-containment plan as asked by Edouard Philippe: “I asked Mr. Jean Castex to come up with a very concrete strategy by associating all players (…) His definitive report has been validated and released in a matter of days” the Prime Minister explained.

In this 68-page report shared this May 11th, Jean Castex announces it: "emergency re-containment should be anticipated". "In case, on a short-term basis, there is no vaccine nor cure, the French population remains vulnerable to a resumption of the epidemic" the senior civil servant says. "The possible reversibility of the measures should be offered and the eventuality of an emergency re-containment should stay in people's mind and be anticipated by the public authorities" he says.

Among the leads he told about, Jean Castex asks for a very "gradual disarmament" of the ICU beds in hospitals. If France is to face a resumption of the infections, reopening these beds should be made "very quickly (in a 24, 48 or 72-hour period depending on beds)". Another lead: "special care will be taken to human ressources in a context the medical staff is  worn out, especially in the regions the most affected by the crisis".

Last but nor least, "Mister deconfinement" reminds the necessity to "plan social and economic help schemes like the ones set up during confinement" without forgetting to "better anticipate psycho-social risks of confinement, known better toay".

But when will this re-containment plan be implemented? 

Jean Castex explains that if the situation was deteriorating in France, we should not wait until June 2nd, said to be the end of the first containment exit phase to take action! If it is necessary, re-containement will be implemented urgently. He says "Here, for us to locally reconfine, it would need the number of cases per day to double up in comparison with what it is today".

The government, and the French, wants to avoid a new containment. They remind that barrier gestures are still vital and people at risk should consider staying home after confinement is lifted is advised (but not mandatory).

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