Wednesday, January 19

Covid-19: what Olivier Véran could announce today

Return of contaminations, degraded health indicators and fear of seeing them transform into a new wave of Covid-19. After the Health Defense Council on Wednesday, the government is preparing to announce today at 12:30 a series of measures to try to contain the situation.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal confirmed the strong resumption of the epidemic. The number of this daily cases increases by 80% each week and averages 20,000 per day, he said. The incidence rate at the national level is currently 191 per 100,000 and is expected to soon exceed the alert threshold, at 200.

Three major axes were mentioned, in order to fight against this epidemic return: vaccination, barrier gestures (in particular wearing a mask indoors and outdoors) and strengthening the health pass.

The executive will meet today and tomorrow with national and local elected officials, before unveiling its measures tomorrow at midday, via the Minister of Health Olivier Véran.

A third, largely expanded dose?

On everyone’s lips, the question of expanding the third dose of vaccine will logically be addressed this Thursday by Olivier Véran. Already asked for over 65s and people vaccinated with Janssen, the government could decide to expand it.

The Scientific Council pleads in this direction, so that the recall also becomes obligatory for the 50-64 years (the doses will be accessible to them from December 1). The High Authority for Health is campaigning for the third dose to concern people over 40 years old. The executive will therefore have to decide quickly.

The government could even go further, declaring the entire population eligible. It could also make the booster injection possible five months after the second dose, instead of six now.

A hardening of the wearing of the mask?

Gabriel Attal indicated that a second point in the fight against the resumption of the epidemic would be to strengthen the barrier measures, by insisting on the wearing of a mask. Whether indoors or outdoors, changes will be announced on Thursday.

As a reminder, the mask has become compulsory again at school and prefectural decrees also impose it locally in certain areas (near schools, markets, etc.). In ski resorts, it will imperatively be requested when queuing for the ski lifts.

The government could thus extend these measures throughout the country, or even consider other cases as requiring the wearing of masks (such as shopping streets, which are very busy before Christmas, for example).

Strengthened health pass control?

The government spokesperson has already announced during his press briefing that the control of health pass will be further strengthened. The goal is to put more constraints on unvaccinated people than on those who have received their doses, he said.

Olivier Véran will have to announce tomorrow how this reinforcement will materialize on the ground. Will it be more numerous checks by the police? Will it be necessary to prove his identity, to show that the document is in the name of its bearer?

CNEWS has learned that the government is considering reducing the period of validity of a negative test for the pass to be valid (it is now less than 72 hours, or 48 hours for antigens).

re-containment, curfew and return of discarded gauges, what about teleworking?

Gabriel Attal was clear that a new containment, a reinstatement of the curfew and the return of the gauges indoors were measures ruled out for the moment.

On the other hand, he did not mention the issue of teleworking, which the Scientific Council has called for a return in force, while only 10% of employees are currently ordered by their employer to stay at least one day at home to work (source ministry work). Olivier Véran will certainly provide more details on this point tomorrow.

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