Three days after the lifting of total lockdown measures in France, the health ministry reported deaths from the Covid-19 virus had tumbled over the 24 hours up to Wednesday evening, at 83 against 348 the previous day, while patients in intensive care for the infection fell by 114 to 2,428, and total hospitalisations for the disease continued a downward trend at 21,071.
The French parliament will later this year debate a health ministry proposal to make compulsory the vaccination of young children against 11 different ingectious diseases, only three of which are currently mandatory, but the move divides public opinion of which, opinion surveys show, a large minority consider vaccines unsafe.
Former French budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac (pictured) last month finally confessed to holding a secret foreign bank account over a period of some 20 years, but he has not publicly disclosed the sums that were paid into it, nor from where they came. However, there has been widespread speculation that the account was used to cash fees paid to Cahuzac for his services, during the 1990s, as a consultant for the pharmaceutical industry. Mediapart has now established that Cahuzac began a lucrative role as lobbyist for a drugs firm just months after leaving his senior post at the French health ministry where he was responsible for the market authorisations of medicines. Mathilde Mathieu and Michaël Hajdenberg report on an extraordinary conflict of interest that also raises serious questions over the conduct of Cahuzac’s former ministerial colleagues who allowed a drug he was lobbying for to continue to be subsidised by the social security system for several years after it was first earmarked to lose its status as a refundable medicine.