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BORDEAUX

Bordeaux: What are the new Covid-19 restrictions on daily life?

Local authorities in Bordeaux and the surrounding Gironde département have revealed a series of new measures to stem the spiralling Covid-19 rates in the south western city.

Bordeaux: What are the new Covid-19 restrictions on daily life?
Photo: AFP

The new measures were announced by Fabienne Buccio, head of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region, during a press conference on Monday.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday asked Buccio, along with her colleagues in the region Bouches-du-Rhône around Marseille and in the overseas territory Guadeloupe, to present new and stricter measures to limit the rapidly rising spread of the virus in their areas.

The Gironde département, and especially in Bordeaux, Covid-19 has spread rapidly over the last few weeks.

Here's a look at the new rules.

Bordeaux

Gatherings in certain parts of Bordeaux such as parks and gardens are now limited to 10 people and authorities banned people from drinking alcohol in the streets.

 

Buccio asked everyone in the city to keep with the 10 people rule, even when organising private events such as family gatherings, birthdays and weddings.

“Dance nights are prohibited in bars, party halls and at all weddings and birthdays,” Buccio said, adding that consuming alcohol while standing up and at bars was also prohibited in the city.

The prefect also warned bar owners that any establishment caught breaching the health rules would be closed down “from one day to the next.”

The city has cancelled the annual heritage days events (Journées du Patrimoine) in September.

All student parties at the start of the term will also be scrapped.

Gironde

In the wider Gironde département around Bordeaux, the cap on the maximum number of people at events has been cut to 1,000 compared to the 5,000 limit nationwide.

 

Also in the whole of Gironde “Events such as fun fairs, flea markets, or neighbourhood parties will not be authorised,” the prefect said.

She added that all protests would be “banned if they don't respect a strict health rule protocol.”

Additional gendarme and riot police units will be deployed to enforce the measures, she added, and a fresh review of the situation will be carried out in the next two or three weeks.

“If we have to toughen the measures, I will, but if we can lighten them, I'll do that as well,” Buccio said.

'Work from home'

Buccio also said the city of Bordeaux would increase public transport services during rush hours to alleviate pressure and ensure more space for commuters.

She reminded listeners that those who could should work from home and warned businesses that authorities would increase checks to see that they complied with the government's health rules.

For all the measures, see the series of tweets below.

 

Mounting pressure on hospitals

Bordeaux, which was largely spared in the first wave of infections this spring, has seen hospital rates spiral over the past few weeks.

The number of patients hospitalised in the south western Nouvelle Aquitaine region has doubled in 10 days.

READ ALSO: Why are Bordeaux and Marseille facing tougher Covid-19 restrictions but not Paris

Some two thirds of the area's intensive care patients are being treated in the Bordeaux’ hospitals. 

Last week, 147 new hospitalisations were counted in Bordeaux, compared to 82 the week before.

Vulnerable and elderly

The PM said on Friday that the mounting pressure on hospitals in Bordeaux and Marseille was largely due to an increase in the number of elderly infected.

To protect the elderly and vulnerable in Bordeaux, Buccio said decided to limit the number of visits to two per week per resident in Ehpad (the French term for elderly nursing homes).

Nice has also limited visits to nursery homes for elderly.

Buccio also said authorities would open new test centres in Bordeaux “as of this week” as part of the strategy to protect the vulnerable and elderly.

Across France, local health authorities have struggled to keep up with the high level of demand that has seen their capacities strained causing long lines outside testing centres.

READ ALSO: How France's 'chaotic' Covid-19 testing strategy is causing a real headache

The general line in France is that anyone who could be at risk of having the virus, either if they have symptoms or if they have been in touch with someone who tests positive, should get tested.

The PM on Friday said authorities would need o realign their strategies to prioritise vulnerable groups and Buccio now urged mayors in Gironde would need to “use their municipal registers to identify the most vulnerable citizens and call them regularly,” like they did during a heatwave.

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HEALTH

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

As France launches its autumn vaccine campaign, almost half of those eligible for the second booster jab in France have already received it. This has left some wondering whether they could qualify for a third booster, using the new dual-strain vaccines.

Reader Question: Can I get a third Covid booster shot in France?

Question: I’m in my 70s and I had my second booster back in the summer but now I see that the new dual-strain vaccines are available – should I be getting an extra booster with the new type of vaccine?

French health authorities launched the autumn booster campaign on October 3rd includes newly authorised dual-strain vaccines – such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.1, the Moderna vaccine adapted to BA.1, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to BA.4/5 – which are designed to combat the Omicron variant.

It will be followed by the seasonal flu vaccination campaign in mid October.

READ MORE: When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

In France, about 6.3 million people have received a second booster dose, “or 41 percent of the eligible population,” said the Directorate General of Health (DGS) to Ouest France.

Currently only those in high risk groups are eligible for a second booster shot, including pregnant women, the elderly those with medical conditions or carers – find the full list here.

As almost half of the eligible population have already received a fourth vaccine, many are wondering whether they will be eligible for a fifth (or third booster) in order to access the new dual-strain vaccine.  

According to Virginie, a representative from HAS – France’s health authority – the organisation “no longer thinks in terms of doses for high-risk people and immunocompromised patients.”

Specifically, the HAS recommends that a new injection be given – and if possible one of the dual-strain vaccines – “regardless of the number of injections received up to now”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Who qualifies for a second Covid vaccine booster in France?

However, French health authorities specified that the additional booster should “respect the minimum recommended time between two doses.”

“This depends based on your profile – for people aged 80 and over, residents of nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD) and those who are immunocompromised, the wait-time is three months between jabs. For the others, the delay is set at six months.”

For those who have already been infected by Covid-19, the HAS recommends that if you are eligible for a second (or third booster) that the additional dose “is still recommended, with a minimum delay of three months after infection.”

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