Macron: Covid crisis in French Caribbean is ‘cruel proof’ that vaccines work

President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday said that a health crisis caused by escalating Covid-19 infections in French overseas territories in the Caribbean, where vaccination rates remain low, was "cruel proof" of the need for jabs against the virus.

Macron: Covid crisis in French Caribbean is 'cruel proof' that vaccines work
Photo: Jody Amiet/AFP

France’s overseas territories across the globe, but especially the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe, are seeing sky-rocketing virus cases and hospitalisations amid vaccination rates that are dramatically lower than on the mainland.

“On these territories the vaccination is still at a very low rate, a third that of mainland France. Just 20 percent of people over the age of 12 are double vaccinated compared with 66 percent in mainland France,” Macron told a meeting of senior health officials.

“It is an urgent scenario. If we needed proof that the vaccination is the best response to the (faster-spreading) Delta variant, unfortunately these places have provided, if I can put it this way, a cruel proof,” he told the meeting of France’s Defence Council, which he chaired via videolink from the presidential summer residence in the south of France.

He added: “There is an explosion of serious illness (in the Caribbean). The situation is dramatic and requires solidarity from the entire nation.”

French Overseas Territories Minister Sebastien Lecornu told AFP on Tuesday before heading to the area that Guadeloupe was seeing over 1,700 cases for 100,000 inhabitants and Martinique 1,165.

The below chart from Le Parisien reporter Nicolas Berrod shows the incidence rate in mainland France, compared to Martinique and Gaudeloupe.

Macron has faced four consecutive weekends of street protests over the implementation of a health pass that means people need to be double vaccinated — or recently tested or recovered — to visit a cafe or travel on an inter-city train.

But with hospitalisations again rising in France as it battles a fourth wave, Macron said that the health pass, which is aimed at encouraging people to get vaccinated, was the only way forward.

READ ALSO OPINION: Macron’s health passport is an unsung triumph for France

“No sector can act as if as nothing is happening… We have no other choice, it was that or closing down the country with new curfews and lockdowns,” he said.

“The health crisis is not finished. We will live with this virus for several more months.”

Member comments

  1. So Macron claims 66 percent of the French population, mainland, has been double vaccinated? Yet I read, I think on the WHO site, that Frances vaccine rate is only 49 percent! Politicians who would believe them?

    1. ..Someone once said that politicians use statistics much like a drunk man a lamppost, more for leaning than for illumination.

    2. The problem is the baseline. The 66%-ish figure uses a baseline of those eligible (i.e., 12-years-old and older), whilst the 50%-ish figure is essentially the entire population. There are very possibly other glitches as well, but essentially the difference is due to differing baselines with associated caveats.

      The important thing is this: Are you fully-vaccinated? If not, when do you expect to be?

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Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

French president Emmanuel Macron will make a live TV broadcast to the nation about the war in Ukraine.

Macron to make live TV broadcast to France

Macron will be on TV on Wednesday at 8pm, the Elysée confirmed earlier on Wednesday.

Macron also tweeted the announcement, saying that his speech will be on the subject of the war in Ukraine.

His office added that the president’s speech “will not touch on other matters” – Macron has only until Friday to confirm whether or not he is running for re-election.

It is widely considered to be extremely unlikely that he would not stand in the April elections, but all candidates have until Friday, March 4th, to make their declaration.

Macron’s team had previously announced a rally in Marseille on Saturday, March 5th, which was expected to be the first official campaign event, but on Tuesday this was cancelled because of the ongoing international crisis.

Macron was at the forefront of international efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, and since Russia invaded Ukraine he has remained in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and has also spoken – at the request of Zelensky – to Russian premier Vladimir Putin.

The Local will be following Macron’s speech live from 8pm HERE.