Coronavirus: towards mass-testing populations? Mass-testing experimented in December in Le Havre

Published by Elodie D., Laurent P. · Published on 10 December 2020 at 16h28
To fight against coronavirus, Jean Castex has announced three mass-testing campaigns in France: in Le Habre, Roubaix and Saint-Etienne. The first mass-testing campaign is to be take place from December 14 to 19, in Le Havre.

The idea of testing the entire population against coronavirus has been spreading since October, and the French government has agreed on three experiments, not in Lille and Roubaix, as recommended by Pr. Froguel - who gave the idea - but in Le Havre, Roubaix and Saint-Etienne.

The first coronavirus mass-testing experiment is to take place from December 14 to 19 in Le Havre. Mayor Edouard Philippe has announced the creation of twenty temporary centers devoted to covid tests in two days, along with 250 nurse students and medicine students, 200 municipal officers, private doctors, medical and paramedical professionals, pharmacists to perform these tests in just a few days. Le Havre will also be able to rely on the 150 ambassadors to raise awareness.

The tests will be PCR or antigenic, and Edouard Philippe guarantees, Covid-19 positive cases will be accompanied all along quarantine by custom-made services and recommendations.

In Roubaix and Saint-Etienne, test campaigns will be launched in January 2020, for the operation to be set up. "Too late" Pr. Philippe Amouyel from Lille Univeristy Hospital says, as he was the one who offered it in November. He would have prefered the tests to be made throughout France in December to avoid spreading the virus across the country.

But Pr. Froguel, from Roubaix, intends to be practical: "To avoid a third wave, January is the perfect time, since the epidemic will be increasing". He goes on: "In Roubaix, there will be two 5-day test waves with different goals. The first operation consists in performing on the same person an antigenic test and a PCR test to assess their effectiveness". He hopes to perform saliva tests to assess their effectiveness afterwards.

In Saint-Etienne, the mass-test campaign will double as an experimentation. A new generation of antigenic tests produced by local company Biospeedia will be used. They say it is 97% effective and results are available in 5 to 15 minutes, competing with PCR tests that are more reliable but longer to get.

As for Laurent Wauquiez, he intends to test people in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes from December 16 to 23, 2020 - without the green light from the government. As for Valérie Pécresse, she urges Ile-de-France inhabitants to get "mass-tested" right after the Holidays to avoid a third wave.

Practical information