The initial slowness in the rollout of its vaccination campaign against Covid-19 has sparked a major political row in France. An investigation by Mediapart can now reveal that a failure of logistics prevented the Pfizer vaccine from being distributed more quickly. As with the earlier debacle over face masks, the Ministry of Health failed to react quickly enough to events and by the end of December had only managed to put in place 38 of the 113 special freezers needed to store the doses at low temperatures. At least three weeks were lost as a result, report Caroline Coq-Chodorge and Antton Rouget.
Photographs obtained by Mediapart appear to undermine claims by Jean Castex concerning a criminal investigation that was abruptly halted just three days after he was appointed as France's new prime minister. Castex, who until he was named premier on July 3rd had been mayor of the southern French town of Prades and president of a local group of municipal councils, said that the judicial probe – which is into the handling of rubbish disposal in that area - did not target him in any way. Yet the photographs show that his local authority was directly involved in the waste handling process which was at the heart of that investigation. Antton Rouget reports.
After a post-lockdown record level of new coronavirus infections in France registered on Wednesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday that the wearing of face masks to contain transmission of the virus is to be made a legal requirement in all public spaces in Paris, adding that 'The spread of the epidemic could become exponential if we do not react quickly'.
As new admissions of Covid-19 patients to hospitals and intensive care units continued on an upward trend in France over recent weeks, Prime Minister Jean Castex has appealed for 'a sense of responsibility' to encourage young aduts to observe social distancing and mask-wearing after widespread flouting of the measures during the summer holiday period.
Jean Castex said it was likely the 'same hatred, the same cowardice, the same inhumanity that was at work in Niger and at the Bataclan', a reference to the Paris music venue attacked in 2015 by terrorists.
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