Curfew: to be eased off after the school break? What doctors have to say

Published by Alexandre G. · Photos by Rizhlaine F. · Published on 18 February 2021 at 12h09 · Updated on 18 February 2021 at 16h20
Curfew has been pulled forward to 6 p.m. since January 14, 2021 in mainland France. Even though the Covid-19 epidemic curve in French keeps on stagnating, and even started to decrease over the past few days, the government might decide to soften restrictions implemented by the end of the school break, namely early March 2021, epidemiologist Martin Balchier says. Yet, the threat of variants remains highly preoccupying.

Is curfew to be softened by the end of the February school break? This is what intends epidemiologist Dr. Martin Balchier this Wednesday February 17, 2021 on LCI. A few hours after the Health Defense Council, the doctor says the curfew restrictionswill be made softer if by the end of the school break, the decreasing trend continues”.

Yet, variants that broke out all over the world these past few months remind the threat of coronavirus remains just as high. According to the epidemiologist, if the epidemic curves keep on slowly decreasing – as they have over the past couple of days – “there will be softening measures” right after the winter break, namely “since the theory of surge because of variants will have ultimately disappeared” he says. 

Tweet reads: “Restrictions: is it time to ease off? Martin Blachier: ‘They will be made softer if by the end of the school break, the decreasing trend continues’. Jean-Luc Mano notices Emmanuel Macron’s ‘change of strategy’. Listen.”

Of course, Balchier shared he was worried anyway because of the new Covid-19 strains. A phenomenon of “dancing with variants” that remains “very, very difficult to understand”, he said. The doctor also pointed out the fact no one “can understand exactly why a variant dominates the other”. Furthermore, the epidemiologist sums up doctors’ and experts’ minds who are close to the government and who can move towards making curfew softer. “It’s total uncertainty, in the middle of status quo. The break is taken if at the end the dynamic continues to decrease, one will say there will be no surge in new cases, of course, there will be no lockdown and everything will reopen” he assures.

“Zero Covid” strategy or making curfew softer?

Why would the government have to make curfew harder and enhance restrictive measures? In the event the increase in contamination, incidence rate, and clinical PCR+ curves start increasing. If the epidemic data keep on decreasing, Blachier considers that first places with “the lowest risk” can reopen first. Namely museums and libraries, for instance. And then, show venues, gyms, restaurants and cafés would be allowed to reopen.  

Tweet reads: “Is the Zero Covid strategy feasible in France? According or head of Paris La Pitié Salpêtrière hospital nephrology unit Pr. Gilbert Deray, ‘Is a year in semi-lockdown as we currently are better than two months in total lockdown?’

Yet, other doctors, such as Pr. Gilbert Deray – interview on RMC – prefer another strategy, that is more drastic. To reach “Zero Covid”, as recommended by Germany, some peers hope the French government will make the right measures, namely “fully close the country for 4 to 8 weeks” in order to fully curb the spread of the virus. A position far from winning unanimous support from his peers.

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