French PM calls for extra health restrictions as another town sees an explosion in cases

The day after the announcement that Nice and the French Riviera would be subject to a weekend lockdown, the French PM has joined calls for extra measures in the northern French town of Dunkerque.

French PM calls for extra health restrictions as another town sees an explosion in cases
The town of Dunkerque has reported soaring Covid levels. Photo: AFP

Prime minister Jean Castex on Tuesday said there should be ‘additional braking measures’ put in place in Dunkerque, echoing calls from city mayor Patrice Vergriete for ‘urgent’ action from the government.

The mayor said: “I am asking for an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to review the health situation in our area. Dunkerque deserves today all the attention of the State, as well as the conurbation of Nice and the Alpes-Maritimes département.”

Health minister Olivier Véran is expected to visit the coastal town on Wednesday, while local representatives have been involved in discussions with the Prime Minister on Tuesday about what extra measures could be proposed.

Cases in the town are extremely high – 900 cases per 100,000 people, almost five times the national average and higher than the rate in Nice, which is now subject to a package of extra measures including a weekend lockdown.

The cases seems to be concentrated in the town, as the incidence rate of the département of Nord is 294 per 100,000, and the town is also showing very high rates of the UK variant of the Covid virus, up to 70 percent of cases are the new variant first discovered in the UK.

Hospital intensive care units in the region are running at 80 percent capacity for Covid patients, well above the national average of 67 percent. 

The imposition of the weekend lockdown in Nice and the Riviera marked a change in France’s strategy, which has been largely on a national level since localised restrictions were tried briefly over the summer.

Overall cases in France continue at a ‘high plateau’ of around 20,000 new cases a day, but this masks large regional variations in both case numbers and rates of new variants of the virus.

READ ALSO MAP Which départements are France’s Covid variant hotspots?

The government describes the situation as ‘fragile’ while for the moment another national lockdown has been decided against.

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French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

From finding a dentist to treatment costs, plus the crucial bits of French vocab, here's everything you need to know about visiting the dentist in France.

French vocab and prices: Your guide to visiting the dentist in France

The dentist – as unjustly dreaded in France as they are anywhere else in the world.

But, while few, if any, of us enjoy visiting our friendly, neighbourhood chirurgien-dentiste, we all know that it’s important to care for our teeth and gums, so here’s what you need to know.

How to make an appointment

A simple web search for a dentiste or chirurgien-dentiste will bring up the contact details of local professionals. Then it’s a case of ringing up to make an appointment. There is no need to be registered with a dentist, you can visit anyone who has a free appointment, although you may prefer to keep your appointments with the same person if you are  having ongoing treatment.

Alternatively, sites such as Doctolib may allow you to book a slot online.

If you’re worried about remembering your French verb conjugation while you have a mouth full of blood, Doctolib also lets you know which languages your dentist speaks.

READ ALSO How to use the French medical website Doctolib

How much it costs

The government-set going rate for a dental check-up is €23 for dentists working in the public health system – which most do. As a result, 70 percent of that fee, paid at the time of the consultation, will be reimbursed for anyone who holds a carte vitale.

Check-ups last as long as the dentist needs to examine your teeth. If no additional work is required, it’s just a few minutes in the chair.

If you require additional work, then how much you pay goes up – along with the time it takes. A basic filling, for example, costs €26.97, of which €18.88 is reimbursed. Descaling adds €28.92 to the initial bill, but is again partially reimbursed.

The upfront cost of root canal work on a molar, meanwhile, is €81.94, while extraction of a permanent tooth costs €33.44. 

The full price list is available on the Ameli website.

For any procedure that costs more than €70, your dentist will provide you with a written estimate, along with a number of options. 

Remember, these prices are for dentists operating in the state sector. Fees at private practices are higher.

What about crowns, implants or dentures?

Your dentist might offer you the option of a crown or implant instead of the basic treatments of fillings and extractions, but these are expensive and are usually not covered on the carte vitale, so here whether or not you have a mutuelle is important.

The top-up health cover known as a mutuelle – find more details here – will generally offer dental cover, but exactly what is covered depends on your policy.

If you require special treatment, make sure to consult the price list, as you will often have to pay up front before you can claim anything back. 

Dental hygienist/teeth-cleaning

If you like to visit the dentist regularly for a scale and polish you will need to check whether your dentist’s cabinet employs a hygiéniste dentaire (dental hygienist).

Most practices do but not all. If you’re going to a new practice it’s generally better to make an appointment first with the dentist for a check-up, and then ask for regular hygienist appointments.

Useful vocabulary

Dental surgery – un cabinet dentaire

Emergency dentist – un dentiste de service

I would like to make an appointment – je voudrais prendre un rendez-vous

I would like a check-up – je voudrais une visite de contrôle

It is an emergency – c’est une urgence

A tooth – une dent

Wisdom teeth – les dents de sagesse

A filling – une plombage or un pansement

une dévitalisation – root canal

I have broken a tooth – je me suis cassé une dent

I have a toothache – j’ai mal aux dents

My gums are bleeding – Mes gencives saignent

I have a cavity – J’ai une carie

My gums hurt – J’ai mal aux gencives

This one hurts – Celle-là me fait mal

These ones hurt – Celles-là me font mal

An abscess – Percer un abcès

Nerve – le nerf

An extraction – une extraction

Injection – une injection/une piqûre

Local anaesthetic – une anesthésie locale

Denture/s – les dentier/s or une prothèse dentaire/les prothèses dentaires

A crown – une couronne

A bridge – un bridge

ARRRRRRGH – AIIIIIIIIE (hopefully you won’t need this one)