France ‘far off’ target for lifting Covid-19 lockdown on December 15th

France is 'far' from its goal of reducing the number of new Covid-19 infections to under 5,000 a day, the level at which the government has promised to lift a lockdown on December 15th, a top health official has warned.

France 'far off' target for lifting Covid-19 lockdown on December 15th
Jérôme Salomon, Chief of France's public health agency Santé Publique France. Photo: AFP

President Emmanuel Macron has promised to end the lockdown on December 15th, but only if the second wave of coronavirus infections is brought within the 5,000 cases mark.

But his goal of lifting the restrictions on travel in time for the year-end holidays appeared in jeopardy on Monday, with senior health official Jérôme Salomon saying the government's targets would be “very hard” to meet.

“Despite all our efforts, we are still faced with a high risk of a rebound in the epidemic,” Salomon told a press conference, noting that the number of new infections had not fallen for several days and France was “still far off from its objective of getting under the threshold of 5,000 cases a day”.

From a high of 50,000-60,000 cases a day in late October the number of infections has fallen to on average 10,000 a day over the past week.

But the fall has tapered off in recent days.

(The chart below from Our World in Data shows how the drop in cases in France has stagnated.)

On Sunday, France recorded 11,022 new infections over the previous 24 hours. On Monday, the number was 3,198, but there is usually a weekend lag in reporting resulting in numbers dropping on Mondays.

READ ALSO: Lockdown lifting: What kind of Christmas can we expect in France this year

In hospital intensive care wards, the number of patients stood at 3,210 – above the target of 3,000 maximum, although that number was continuing its steady decrease from nearly 5,000 mid November to the current level. Intensive care numbers lag around two-to-three weeks behind case numbers due to the incubation time of the virus.

France entered a second lockdown on October 30th. The restrictions were eased somewhat on November 28th, when businesses selling “non-essential” goods and services, such as bookshops and hairdressers, were allowed to reopen.

Everyone in France still has to fill out attestations (permission forms) whenever they leave their home.

READ ALSO Calendar: The next key dates in France's lockdown

Bars and restaurants remain closed and will not reopen on December 15th even if the government does decide to ahead with lifting the lockdown. Macron has outlined a later reopening for these on January 20th, but again only if the number of new cases remains below 5,000 per day.  

The total death toll in France since the beginning of the pandemic stood at 55,521 on Monday, 38,362 of these were hospital deaths and the remaining deaths occurred in institutions like nursing homes (Ehpad).

Member comments

  1. It will not make any difference they will still go ahead and lift the restrictions like they did in the summer. Prepare for another round of restrictions in the new year.

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.