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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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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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