And what if the infernal machine was back in 2021? As vaccines are ultimately coming to France, variants could have the machine come off again. They were found in 21.3% of coronavirus cases found on February 3, and according to Pr. Fontanet, the UK variant will be “dominant from circa March 1” in France.
But variants spread faster and have many specialists worried. Even though Director of WHO Europe Hans Kluge has urged Europe to “unify” and vaccinate quicker, South Africa has stopped vaccinated with AstraZeneca because it is said not to be effective enough against the South-African coronavirus variant. In France, the Health director general has issued a memo to rethink the variant-related health protocol (downloadable here).
From now on, any positive antigenic test or PCR test will have to be paired with a “sifting PCR test” to find out if this is contamination with the UK, South-African or Brazilian variant. A second sample in a laboratory will be required within maximum 36 hours. Then, while the French were to stay in self-isolation for 7 days, any person contaminated will have to quarantine for 10 days and wait for another test to turn negative – aka the “exit test” – to be allowed out again.
Another change – because of the “increased contagiousness of the two variants” – contact cases must take their PCR test as soon as possible and not wait for a week after the last contact with one sick, and, the main issue, closing a classroom is now “automatically decreed” when one of the family members of a student is contaminated by one of the two variants.
To make isolation easier, liberal nurses can be available to come home and patients will enjoy “a specific housing offer”.