Covid: massive screening in December in France to save Christmas?

Published by Elodie D. · Published on 18 November 2020 at 15h54 · Updated on 19 November 2020 at 15h50
Will France provide massive screening to save Christmas? This Tuesday November 17, 2020, French politician Laurent Wauquiez announced a massive screening campaign in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes before Christmas, that is to say, they will screen 8 million inhabitants. As for the French government, they are thinking about a massive screening for the entire population in December.

Back to November 12, Jean Castex warned the French already, there will be no lockdown exit before Christmas. But as the government relies on the French’s compliance, doctors think that Christmas and the Holidays will trigger another coronavirus wave. According to Lille University Hospital public health professor Philippe Amouyel, invited on Franceinfo this Wednesday November 18, “we cannot go to everyone’s to check how many guests there are. There will definitely be new contact cases”.

Even though the professor thinks the Holidays must be sustained, crucial for the French’s psychological and social health, he thinks a massive Covid-19 screening campaign shall be conducted before “December 24th” to prevent the virus from spreading, especially from spreading from one region to the other.

He then offers to test screen the entire population, with a massive Covid-screening program. A lead studied by minister Olivier Véran, as suggested by Professor Froguel. Based in northern France, this doctor suggests a massive screening program for the entire population in Lille and Roubaix, including PCR and antigenic tests. It means it could involve 400,000 people in two to three days, thanks to 1000 or 2000 officers on site.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region president Laurent Wauquiez has pre-empted the Prime Minister and announced a screening campaign in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes by Christmas – that is to say 8 million people. It will be based on volunteering.

This strategy has been used in other countries. Austria announced on November 15 to massively test 8.8 million inhabitants. Slovakia tested 2/3 of the population in one weekend to break the contamination chain, as they were faced with many asymptomatic cases.

According to the doctor, this anticipation could prevent a 3rd wave past Christmas and the Holidays, estimated in January or February: “the same causes produce the same effects. This is what happened this summer and we don’t want it to start over”. But massive screening is a logistical challenge, think officers to rally, swabs to get, marquees – temporary screening centers – to build up and results to deliver quickly.

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