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HEALTH

France records 1,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours

France has recorded more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus in 24 hours, as health authorities express concern about a number of 'hotspots' of the virus.

France records 1,000 new Covid-19 cases in 24 hours
Photo: AFP

Although death rates and the numbers of hospitalised patients remain low, there is concern about the sharp rise in new cases being recorded.

On Thursday night, there were 1,062 new cases of Covid-19 recorded in the previous 24 hours, the latest data from Santé Publique France shows.

This represented a sharp increase on the previous week, where around 500 new cases were being recorded per day.

MAP Which areas of France are 'of concern' to authorities as Covid-19 cases rise?

 

However overall the death rates remain low, with 14 deaths reported in hospital over the previous 24 hours, while the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care – a key indicator for the progress of the virus – remained steady at 436.

The numbers of the most seriously ill patients have been falling steadily since April 9th, when numbers peaked at 7,148 patients in ICU units around the county.

Many of the new cases are reported in 'hotspots' including south west France, Brittany and Mayenne in the north west.

There are currently 120 active 'clusters' of cases, an increase of 10 in the last 24 hours – a cluster defined as three or more cases diagnosed within the last seven days where the patients have a provable link such as a workplace, family members or an event they have attended.

The French government on Monday made masks compulsory in all indoor public areas, on pain of a €135 fine, and some local authorities have gone further and made them compulsory on the street as well.

READ ALSO These are the towns where masks are compulsory on the street

The French government says it will not return to a nationwide lockdown, but is working on a plan for local lockdowns if cases spike in a particular area.

 

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STRIKES

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

General practitioners in France are planning another industrial action that will see doctors' offices closed as they call for better investment in community healthcare.

French doctors to stage more strikes in February

Primary care doctors in France announced plans to strike again in February, after walkouts in December and over the Christmas-New Year holidays in early January.

The strike will take place on Tuesday, February 14th, and it comes just a few weeks ahead of the end-of-February deadline where France’s social security apparatus, Assurance Maladie, must reach an agreement to a structure for fees for GPs for the next five years.

Hospital doctors in France are largely barred from striking, but community healthcare workers such as GPs are self-employed and therefore can walk out. 

Their walk-out comes amid mass strike actions in February over the French government’s proposed pension reform. You can find updated information on pensions strikes HERE.

Previous industrial action led to widespread closures of primary care medical offices across the country. In December, strike action saw between 50 to 70 percent of doctor’s surgeries closed.

READ MORE: Urgent care: How to access non-emergency medical care in France

New concerns among GPs

According to reporting by La Depeche, in the upcoming strike in February primary care doctors will also be walking out over a new fear – the possibility of compulsory ‘on-call’ hours.

Currently, French GPs take on-call hours on a voluntary basis. Obligatory on-call time for primary care doctors was scrapped in the early 2000s after GPs mobilised against the requirement.

However, representatives from the Hospital Federation have called for it to be reinstated in order to help relieve emergency services.

Additionally, GPs are calling for Saturday shifts to considered as part of their standard working week, in order to allow for a two-day weekend.

Striking primary care doctors are more broadly calling for actions by the government and Assurance Maladie to help make the field more appealing to younger physicians entering the profession, as the country faces more medical deserts, and for working conditions to be improved.

Those walking out hope to see administrative procedures to be simplified and for the basic consultation fee – typically capped to €25 – to be doubled to €50.

In France patients pay the doctor upfront for a visit, and then a portion of the fee is reimbursed by the government via the carte vitale health card.

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