Authority in south west France delays lifting Covid-19 health restrictions amid Delta variant fears

Authority in south west France delays lifting Covid-19 health restrictions amid Delta variant fears
French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran visited the Landes last week. Photo: Gaizka Iroz | AFP
Residents in the south west France will have to wait at least another week before Covid-19 restrictions are lifted amid concern over the spread of the Delta variant of the virus.

On the day the rest of metropolitan France took a fourth step out of lockdown, authorities in the Landes département announced they were maintaining restriction levels in place since June 9th.

The final step sees a number of restrictions lifted around large events and crowds and also passes responsibility back to local authorities on issues such as restrictions for bars, cafés and festivals.

Across France, health trends are going in the right direction, with case numbers and hospitalisations continuing to fall – but the situation has stalled somewhat in the Landes, on the south west Atlantic coast of the country. 

As a result, the Préfet has decided to keep the existing restrictions in place until at least July 6th – depending on the local health situation.

“The situation is stabilised, with an incidence rate which oscillates around 50 cases per 100,00 people.

“It is not particularly serious, but it is particularly atypical compared to the rest of France,”  Préfet Cécile Bigot-Dekeyzer said at a press conference on Wednesday, a week after Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran had visited the department as cases rose.

The recorded incidence rate in the Landes on Tuesday, June 29th was 48 cases per 100,000 residents, according to France’s Covid Tracker website – below the alert threshold of 50, but well above the national average of 19.

Meanwhile, half of the total French population has received a first dose of vaccine. In total, 33.5 million people have received a first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, and 22.8 million, or 32.4 percent of the population, are fully vaccinated.

Despite the falling Covid-19 numbers, concern over the spread of the contagious Delta variant remains. It now counts for 20 percent of new cases in France and “is gradually becoming dominant,” warned Véran on Franceinfo on Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Delta variant: Is France heading for another Covid surge as seen in the UK?


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