Mediapart has seen a document in which doctors in the south of France are drawing up plans to decide which patients will be admitted to hospital intensive care units - and which will not - amid fears that the current wave of Covid-19 cases could overwhelm them. The revelation comes as France recorded 179,807 Covid cases in a single day. According to the working document, if the situation worsens ICU staff in Marseille and across the southern region of PACA could refuse admission to frail patients over 65. Meanwhile doctors have told Mediapart of their concern over the ethical issues they will face if they have to deny patients healthcare. Pascale Pascariello reports.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday announced new measures to stem the rampant progression of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, including mask-wearing in city centre streets and limits on numbers attending indoor and outdoor gatherings, although no curfews are presently envisaged and schools will reopen as normal in January.
France's top health authority has recommended anti-Covid-19 booster jabs be administered just three months after the last of the standard two vaccinations, down from an initial waiting time of five months, as the country this weekend registered more than 100,000 daily cases of coronavirus infections for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
As the Christmas weekend approaches, amid official appeals for people to test for the coronavirus before joining in family gatherings, record demand for PCR and antigen tests, which saw more than six million performed in the week between December 13th-19th, has left an estimated two-thirds of chemist's stores out of stock.
The French government has announced a ban from Saturday on arrivals from the UK except for its nationals, others with official residency in the country and people who can justify 'essential' reasons for travelling in France, in a move prompted by the sharp rise in Britain of the spread of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Health ministry reported said number of Covid-19 patients in French hospitals rose by 618 to 12,714, the second-highest net one-day increase this year behind the net increase of 732 on April 6, when patient tally was above 30,600.
Prime minister Jean Castex also urged businesses to encourage working from home and called on people to 'lift the pedal' on social interactions such as office parties as the year-end holidays approach.
France has sent police reinforcements, including elite units, to its Caribbean island La Guadeloupe after a week of riots escalated this weekend, amid protests against the introduction of restrictions on movement to counter the coronavirus epidemic, and to a background of long-simmering social unrest.
French president said the fifth wave of Covid-19 has begun in Europe and the rising Covid-19 incidence rate, up 40 percent in France over the past week, as well as rising hospitalisations were "alert signals".
Introduced in France this summer, a “health pass” attesting that the holder is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or has recently tested negative to the coronavirus, is required for gaining access to a wide range of public venues. This month, as the government moves to extend its power to impose the pass through to next summer, Mediapart took to the road to gather reactions to the restrictions in the lesser populated rural areas of central and south-west France, where local concerns contrast with those in crowded urban zones. Here, Nicolas Cheviron reports from the village of Corn, whose mayor, Dominique Legresy, a fervent opponent of the pass, confides how he tries “to allow things to happen” without breaking the law.
French pharmaceutical group Sanofi has announced it is halting work on developing a Covid-19 vaccine using mRNA messenger technology because of the abundance of supplies of similar vaccines from other firms, and will instead develope mRNA vaccines against other pathogens, including the flu.