Coronavirus: lockdown, schools, vaccination – a decisive week in France

Published by Rizhlaine F. · Photos by My B. · Published on 29 March 2021 at 14h31 · Updated on 30 March 2021 at 14h51
The coronavirus epidemic is escalating in France and this week will be decisive. Lockdown, schools, vaccination, Health Defense Council, here are the main issues and what to expect in the coming days.

As the Easter celebrations are coming, France is entering a decisive week. The coronavirus epidemic is more and more worrying in schools and hospitals, especially in Île-de-France where health professionals are sounding the alarm. The prospect of a new strict lockdown seems to be more and more likely. A new health defense council has been announced already for this Wednesday March 31, 2021.

Visuel Paris Tour EiffelVisuel Paris Tour EiffelVisuel Paris Tour EiffelVisuel Paris Tour Eiffel Covid: New Health Council to be held this Thursday April 8
A new Health Council is to be held this Thursday April 8, 2021. On the occasion, the country’s Covid epidemic situation will be re-assessed, but not likely to lead to new measures, as the lockdown announced this past March 31 by Emmanuel Macron has just started.

In this decisive week, two major issues make the news. The first one being schools where the spread of Covid-19 is worrying. In Drancy, Lycée Eugène Delacroix teachers have called for the closure of the high school as 20 students have lost a parent since the pandemic broke out. In Paris, elected representatives call for pending vaccination of teachers. Île-de-France region president Valérie Pecresse offers to move school break forward. A new and reinforced health protocol has been instated since Monday March 29, 2021 in schools set in departments in lockdown: from now on, as soon as one contact case is proven, classes must close. But stronger measures might be made, including the closure of schools but only as a last resort.

Coronavirus : que dit le protocole sanitaire pour la réouverture des écolesCoronavirus : que dit le protocole sanitaire pour la réouverture des écolesCoronavirus : que dit le protocole sanitaire pour la réouverture des écolesCoronavirus : que dit le protocole sanitaire pour la réouverture des écoles Covid: strengthened health protocol for schools, classes to close when one case is confirmed
Schools will close only as a last resort, this is what the government has been saying for weeks, as most of France is already back into lockdown. During the latest press brief, on March 25, Olivier Véran announced a new strengthened health protocol will soon be instated in schools. This Friday March 26, Minister of the National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said that starting next week, in the 19 departments involved by the new measures, classes are to close as soon as one Covid-19 contamination case is detected.

Coronavirus : les écoles et universités représentent un tiers des foyers de contamination Coronavirus : les écoles et universités représentent un tiers des foyers de contamination Coronavirus : les écoles et universités représentent un tiers des foyers de contamination Coronavirus : les écoles et universités représentent un tiers des foyers de contamination Covid-19: an ever-expanding infection toll in schools, concerns increase
The latest data shared by the National Education Ministry on Thursday November 12, 2020 show that the number of children who tested positive for Covid-19 in schools have multiplied by three in barely a week. Santé Publique France data show that 259 clusters are currently investigated in schools and universities, out of 1,280 reported. A high criticality rate in comparison with the other communities, dropping by 24%.

The other major issue is hospitals. Now France is approaching the second wave’s peak in terms of ICU bed occupancy; in Île-de-France, AP-HP crisis directors have sounded the alarm, stating the Île-de-France hospitals’ occupancy will be exceeded in a matter of two weeks. Consequences? Doctors might have – and for the first time – to sort covid and non-covid patients out.

Visuel Paris vue toitsVisuel Paris vue toitsVisuel Paris vue toitsVisuel Paris vue toits Coronavirus in Île-de-France: hospitals to be overwhelmed within two weeks, ICU patients to be sorted out?
Île-de-France coronavirus epidemic situation worsens. According to AP-HP crisis directors, the hospital pressure is such they might be overwhelmed within two weeks. Doctors then may have to sort ICU patients out.

Coronavirus : En France, la rémunération des gardes des internes dans les hôpitaux augmente de 25%Coronavirus : En France, la rémunération des gardes des internes dans les hôpitaux augmente de 25%Coronavirus : En France, la rémunération des gardes des internes dans les hôpitaux augmente de 25%Coronavirus : En France, la rémunération des gardes des internes dans les hôpitaux augmente de 25% Covid: the second wave’s peak almost reached with circa 4,900 patients in ICU
The hospitals’ health situation grows worrying by the day. As of Sunday March 28 evening, 4,872 Covid-19 sick were hospitalized in intensive care units; a data all the more so worrying it is now verging on the peak of the second wave reached this past Fall.

Coronavirus : Deux fois plus de jeunes hospitalisés en réanimation, pourquoi ?Coronavirus : Deux fois plus de jeunes hospitalisés en réanimation, pourquoi ?Coronavirus : Deux fois plus de jeunes hospitalisés en réanimation, pourquoi ?Coronavirus : Deux fois plus de jeunes hospitalisés en réanimation, pourquoi ? Coronavirus: younger sick hospitalized in ICU, clear increase in admissions
As the positive effect of vaccination starts being noticeable in nursing homes, more and more young people are hospitalized in intensive care units. There are even twice as many of patients under 50, and without comorbidities since January 2021. Over the past eight days, the phenomenon has been increasing, so much that the regional health authorities and the government are highly concerned.

So, the health situation in France might leave no other choice to the executive but tightening measures and even up to nationwide lockdown. So far, the government has chosen to go for local measures. But the spread of the coronavirus epidemic in the country – improved by the spread of the UK variant – is such that actions chosen this week are decisive. Furthermore, the first effects of the measures already instated are to be assessed by the weekend.

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As the coronavirus epidemic is escalating, the government decides on local restrictions. But will it be enough to prevent a new nationwide lockdown in spring 2021 in France?

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As the coronavirus epidemic goes on in France, the government has decreed local lockdown in 19 departments. Yet, the list may grow longer. Which departments might be placed in lockdown too? Here what the latest data say.

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