Could Covid variants force us to self-isolate again?

Published by Cécile D. · Photos by Rizhlaine F. · Published on 19 January 2021 at 12h26
Will France have to self-isolate again to curb the spread of Covid-19 variants? Virus mutations are worrying, because they are more contagious and spread quicker across the country.

English variant, South-African variant: these coronavirus mutations are spreading more and more in France. Mass-testing operations are set up to find people sick and isolate them as soon as possible and the use of some masks is called into question.

At the same time, new lockdown rumors are spreading. For now, even though the French government has decided to rule for a nationwide curfew from 6 p.m., Jean Castex admitted a third lockdown was possible.

Could the arrival of Covid-19 variants cause a third lockdown? It could. For a new lockdown to be implemented, hospitals have to suffer from high pressure and most beds in intensive care units be taken. The new-case toll per day also has to be increasing.

The government is closely monitoring these indicators, as the country is moving closer by the day. “If we notice in the coming days the health situation is severely degrading, we will decide to a new lockdown without delays” the Prime Minister said on January 14 during his latest press brief.

The English and South-African variants are a real threat in these precariously fragile times. Doctor and France Télévisions journalist Damien Mascret explained during France 2 news broadcast on Monday January 18 that these viruses “are more contagious because they can enter your cells more easily, and they multiply very easily. In concrete words, someone infected will increase their viral charge, will excrete a lot of virus, and then be more contagious”.

In a preliminary investigation conducted by the Inserm (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research) – issued on January 16 – the institute says the “[English] variant could dominate in France between late February and mid-March, depending on the epidemic evolution and the estimated increase of the VOC [name of the English variant] transmissibility. New weekly hospitalizations are to peak as much as during the first wave (about 25,000 hospitalizations) between mid-February and early April, in the event no actions are taken”.

On France 2 set, Mascret adds this scenario is the one “the Scientific Committee privileged, based on Institut Pasteur’s simulations. […] We notice there has been a first hospitalization peak in March, a second peak, and the third wave is coming, if nothing is done, the hospitalization wave will be considerable because the reproduction rate will reach 1.5”.

The government may soon rule for a new lockdown to halt coronavirus variants.

Practical information