Covid-19 in France: before a ministerial meeting on the Omicron variant, hospital pressure remains strong

Prime Minister Jean Castex will meet on Monday, January 3, from 4 p.m., ten of his ministers “In order to take stock of the impact of the Omicron variant and the continuity of essential public services”, announced Matignon Sunday to Agence France Presse. The ministers of health Olivier Véran, of the economy Bruno Le Maire, of the interior Gérald Darmanin, of education Jean-Michel Blanquer, of work Elisabeth Borne, of the armed forces Florence Parly, of the civil service Amélie de Montchalin, ecological transition Barbara Pompili, transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari and government spokesperson Gabriel Attal will participate in this meeting chaired by the Prime Minister.

Continuous pressure

This meeting comes as hospital pressure due to Covid-19 has continued to increase in the past 24 hours, according to figures released on Sunday by Public Health France. At the start of 2022, French hospitals are welcoming a total of 19,043 Covid patients, against 18,811 the day before. In 24 hours, they admitted 652 new patients, a figure down from the previous two days (1,102 on Saturday and 1,928 on New Year’s Eve).

Critical care services, which treat the most severe forms of the disease, are caring for 3,572 patients (3,560 Saturday), including 101 new admissions. This closely watched indicator has continued to increase since the start of the fifth wave of the epidemic in France, in November 2021.

It had peaked at 6,000 patients in the third wave, in April 2021, and 7,000 in the first. For now, the authorities do not know what will be the impact on hospitalizations of the outbreak of infections due to the new variant Omicron, very contagious.

“There are two weeks to three weeks later” between contaminations and hospitalizations, recalled the infectious disease specialist Eric Caumes on Sunday. According to epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet, member of the Scientific Council, “The peak in the number of cases should peak in mid-January” and “The peak hospital could take place a week later”.

As for contamination, the figures for this Sunday (58,432) are not significant, few people being tested on the weekend, which is moreover a 1is January bank holiday. But on average over the last seven days, more than 160,000 people have been infected, more than double the number of a week ago. On Wednesday and Thursday, the number of cases exceeded 200,000 per day in the country, a record. And the positivity rate, which relates the number of cases to that of tests, climbs, to 15.8% (against 8% a week ago).

In 24 hours, 91 people have died from Covid, bringing the total death toll to 123,942 since the start of the epidemic. Since the start of the vaccination campaign, 76.8% of French people have been fully vaccinated (51,763,970 people), and 78.5% have received at least one injection (52,924,529 people), said the Directorate General of health (DGS).

Entry into force of new measures

New provisions will come into force on Monday, such as the wearing of a compulsory mask for children from 6 years old, isolation for Covid patients reduced to five days after a negative test, a minimum number of three days of teleworking per week for posts where possible, gauges for cultural and sporting shows or even an increase from four to six in the number of children who can be accommodated simultaneously by childminders.

The World with AFP

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Covid-19 in France: before a ministerial meeting on the Omicron variant, hospital pressure remains strong