‘Warning signs’ of virus resurgence in south west France, says government

Half the adult population in France will have had at least one dose of vaccine against Covid-19 by the end of Wednesday, but 'warning signs' in the south west of France mean it would be unwise to speed up the process of reopening, the government says.

'Warning signs' of virus resurgence in south west France, says government
French government spokesman Gabriel Attal. Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP

“If the overall level of virus circulation is comparable to that of early last autumn, warning signs are emerging in some areas,” said government spokesman Gabriel Attal after the regular meeting of the Ministers’ Council on Wednesday morning.

ALSO READ: IN NUMBERS: Is the Covid situation in France really ‘under control’?

A week before the next phase of reopening is due, Attal said that it would not be sensible to increase the pace at which France eases its restrictions – noting an increase in cases in the south west regions of Nouvelle Aquitaine and Occitanie.

 “In Nouvelle Aquitaine, we are seeing sometimes significant increases in the circulation of the virus, with a reproduction rate that has risen above 1, which means that the epidemic is gaining ground again,” he said.

The incidence rate in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department has risen more than 80 percent in a week, according to Attal, while cases were up “to a lesser extent in Charente-Maritime, Lot-et-Garonne, Charente, Landes and Gironde”. 

He said that although the national circulation of the virus remained moderate, the figures in those two regions should not go unheeded, and called on the French people not to lower their guard. 

But, he said: “The indicators are green at the national level. This is good news which shows that the first step in lifting the restriction measures has been successful.”

Meanwhile in the département of Bouches-du-Rhône, which contains Marseille, wearing a mask on beaches, in parks gardens and natural spaces is no longer obligatory from June 2nd.

“Respect for social distancing”  remains necessary, added the préfecture in a statement.

Member comments

  1. Well they better get on with vaccinations than, France is slower than most eu countries. Are they busy testing instead of vaccinating?

    1. You see that’s the problem. It’s people like you that think the vaccination stops you getting it. It does not, you can still catch it but it is not as severe and still pass it on. It’s about time the Government changed tack and revealed all the facts instead of running the vaccination program as some sort of contest.

      1. You’re both right. The CDC has mentioned that the vaccine does seem to limit the rate of transmission, studied in mRNA doses (Pfizer and Moderna, which is roughly 90% of doses given). HOWEVER, they cannot conclude it eliminates the risk.

        “A growing body of evidence indicates that people fully vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna) are less likely to have asymptomatic infection or to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others. Studies are underway to learn more about the benefits of Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine. However, the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus.”

        Get vaccinated ASAP and still follow the guidelines for distancing and masks. Best strategy.

        1. The problem is that people have become to believe that having the vaccination is the end of it. They have come to think that they are immune from it because of the way the media have been pitching being vaccinated.

  2. Regarding the article about the fading French culture of women going topless on the beach…
    Isn’t the reason most women don’t do it anymore because they’ve realised that rather than making a statement of sexual freedom, they were just playing straight into the hands of men (‘scuse the pun) by showing them their boobs!

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New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

A new accessibility scheme recently announced by the French government gives grants for home improvements such as installing a stair lift or widening a doorframe to allow wheelchair access - here is how you could benefit.

New French State aid to help older people make home improvements

According to a recent survey in France, the vast majority of retired people expressed a desire to stay in their homes long-term, rather than entering a care facility.

While there are several schemes by the French government to provide assistance for renovating homes in order to make them more accessible for elderly people, the newly announced “MaPrimeAdapt” seeks to streamline the process.

When was it announced?

MaPrimeAdapt was part of President Emmanuel Macron’s re-election campaign, with plans for it first announced by the president last November.

Most recently, the government aid was earmarked to receive funding in the upcoming 2023 budget, which also hopes to increase the number of nursing home employees, as well as boost public funding for care centres.

The budget is set to allocate €35 million to the National Housing Agency (ANAH) in 2023. In response, the ministry of housing said to Capital France that one of their top priorities is “a single aid for the adaptation of housing to ageing” that would replace several existing government subsidies.

What is the goal of Ma Prime Adapt?

Similar to Ma Prime Renov, this programme hopes to provide additional funding for home refurbishment.

But while Ma Prime Renov focuses on environmentally friendly home adaptations, Ma Prime Adapt aims to make it simpler for older people or those with disabilities to refurbish their homes in order to maintain their autonomy and avoid falls.  

The French government also aims to reduce the number of fatal or disabling falls of people aged 65 by at least 20 percent by 2024, and by 2032, the goal is for at least 680,000 homes to be adapted, particularly those of low-income older people.

Who can benefit?

According to reporting by Le Monde, this aid is not solely reserved for people who already have decreased mobility. 

Instead, it is intended for older people generally. When applying, the applicant must be able to demonstrate that they are an independent retiree and need (this could be based on income, age, health, etc) to adapt their housing in order to make it more accessible.

The amount of assistance offered will be means-tested based on financial status.

What types of work would qualify?

Some examples of work that might qualify for assistance might be:

  • adapting the bathroom (for example, adding grab bars or enlarging the door)
  • replacing the bathtub with a shower
  • installing a bathtub with a door
  • installing a stair lift
  • adding access ramps to the home

The benefit is not limited to those options – any project that aims to increase home accessibility for a senior could qualify, as long as it is not simply aesthetic-focused.

Can it be combined with Ma Prime Renov?

They have different criteria, but Ma Prime Renov and Ma Prime Adapt can be combined in order to provide maximum support to elderly people wishing to adapt and stay in their homes.

How can I apply?

In order to apply, you will be required to meet the conditions stated above, in addition to being able to demonstrate that the housing in question is at least 15 years old and that the amount of work being done would cost at least €1,500.

Keep in mind that the renovation will need to be carried out by a recognised building company or contractor – specifically one with the label “RGE.”

You will be able  toapply for the Ma Prime Adapt aid via France’s National Housing Agency (ANAH). A dedicated website will be created to facilitate the process, with a launch date TBC. 

On the site, you will submit an application form that includes the estimates of the work planned. According to Le Monde, €5,600 will be the maximum amount of aid to be offered, and the cost of work will be capped at €8,000. However, this information has not yet been published by the National Housing Agency. 

What have the other available schemes been?

Currently, retirees in France can apply for the “Habiter facile” scheme from the ANAH (Agence Nationale de l’Habitat), which also helps to finance work that promotes the ability of elderly people to remain in their homes.

“Bien vieillir chez soi” is a similar aid scheme which is offered by the CNAV (social security).

The elderly and disabled can also benefit from tax credits on accessibility or home adaptation work. 

These will likely be replaced by Ma Prime Adapt, which will combine all benefits into one package.