Coronavirus – hospitals under pressure: can France avoid a lockdown?

Published by Rizhlaine F. · Photos by Rizhlaine F. · Published on 9 December 2021 at 14h36
As a fifth coronavirus epidemic wave is hitting France, the spread of the Omicron variant has the world worried. Is another lockdown still avoidable?

So far, each epidemic wave caused a lockdown. And the issue has risen again. Although the country managed to escape this measure during the fourth wave thanks to the improvement in vaccination and the extension of the health pass some people fear the measure could be reinstated as the country is facing a fifth epidemic wave.

Why is this issue relevant again today? Cases have been skyrocketting with the fifth epidemic wave in several EU countries, in addition to extra vigilance because of the Omicron variant, a mutation more contagious than the Delta variant. Although vaccination enabled to prevent lockdown for the previous wave, this Fall 2021, France has started a third-dose booster shot campaign.

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Should one expect another lockdown in France? During the press brief held this Monday December 6, 2021, Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran have announced no lockdown or curfew. But measures aiming at making vaccination easier for the most at-risk and non-vaccinated people have been announced, as well as reinforced health protocol at school and the closure of nightclubs.

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For the time being, although cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in France, the fight against the Delta variant goes on as the main concern. But to be able to assess the likelihood of a new lockdown, the right indicators are needed. This restriction mostly aims at preventing hospital units from being overcrowded. Now the "white plan" is being progressively reinstated in French hospitals as they are more and more under pressure. But, the impact of these past measures can only be assessed within two weeks after their implementation. If necessary, the government might make more extreme measures.

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