In these overseas territories, the epidemic is experiencing “a considerable increase” because of the Omicron variant and low vaccination coverage.
The government has declared a state of health emergency in Guadeloupe, Guyana, Mayotte, Saint-Martin and Saint-Barthélemy, overseas territories where, “under the effect of the Omicron variant, the circulation of the Covid -19 is experiencing a considerable increase ”, according to a decree presented Wednesday, January 5 in the Council of Ministers.
The decree affirms that “given the hospital capacities of these territories and the vaccination coverage of their population, the current epidemic wave of Covid-19 constitutes a health disaster endangering (…) the health of the population”.
The state of health emergency is already in force in two other overseas territories, Martinique and Reunion, since December 28.
Incidence rate on the rise in Guadeloupe
In Guadeloupe, for example, on January 4, the incidence rate (new cases on average per week per 100,000 inhabitants) is 1,820, up 549% over the last seven days, according to the decree. The alert threshold for this indicator, which is used to measure the circulation of the epidemic, is 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
This archipelago of the Antilles, hit hard in July-August by the fourth wave of Covid-19, has been shaken for a month and a half by a social protest, in particular against the vaccination obligation of caregivers and firefighters.
Only 40% of the population received at least one dose of the vaccine by the end of 2021, and 31% that of Guyana. “With this level of vaccination coverage, the risks of developing serious forms of the disease are greatly increased and could quickly lead to saturation of hospital structures in the various territories concerned”, underlines the decree presented to the Council of Ministers.
Hospital pressure is already “very strong in Guyana, where the occupancy rate of intensive care beds is greater than 190% of the initial capacity”. It is “close to 80%” in Guadeloupe, at a time when the situation in metropolitan France, which is not immune to the epidemic outbreak caused by the Omicron variant, “significantly limits the capacity to send reinforcements or the organization of medical evacuations”.
The state of health emergency “will allow the prefects to take measures prohibiting travel outside the home”, adds the decree.