“It’s starting to be very heavy”: the weariness was on February 22 in Nice after the announcement by the authorities of an unprecedented confinement the next weekends in the city and on the coast of the Alpes-Maritimes to counter the outbreak of Covid-19 in this particularly affected department.

“It is probably necessary but it has been going on for over a year”, sighs Cécile Saliou, 45, shortly after the presentation of the new measures by the authorities.

Read also: Covid: Olivier Véran announces new restrictions in Lyon and Nice

Partial re-containment

Feared by the inhabitants, but called for by some elected officials, the partial reconfinement will concern the inhabitants of the communes of the coast of the Alpes-Maritimes extending from Théoule-sur-Mer to Menton, an area which brings together approximately 90% of the population of the department, for the last two weekends of the school holidays (February 27-28 and March 6-7).

“I’m lucky I’m a teacher so next week I’m on vacation, I can go out,” tries to relativize Ms. Saliou.

As during the first confinement a year ago, one-hour outings will be authorized on weekends, but within a radius of 5 km, with certification (doctors, pets, sports, walks).

An unpopular measure

“It makes us lose a working day, Saturday, which is an important day”, deplores Philippe Bernini, bookseller. “They (the authorities) almost say that we should not come to Nice, so even the rest of the week people will not dare to move,” fears the 60-year-old.

Such a territorialized confinement measure, in force since February 5 in Mayotte, is a first since the start of the health crisis in metropolitan France. Claimed by some elected officials of Moselle, it had not been implemented in this department.

Hospitals “close to saturation”

“The health situation is particularly worrying in the Alpes-Maritimes”, recalled the Minister of Health Olivier Véran: “There are 500 people who fall ill per day”.

Hospital services are “close to saturation”, also underlined Romain Alexandre, the representative of the ARS: the incidence rate in the department (588 per 100,000 inhabitants, against 190 for the national average) is “the highest de France “and the positivity rate is” clearly increasing in all age groups except for those over 80 “.

“There has been an acceleration” for “ten days on patients who are younger”, also confirmed Michel Carles, infectious disease specialist at the University Hospital of Nice. “I think people have not realized how it has been months that the teams are under high tension,” continued the doctor met by AFP, explaining that the hospital system was showing “signs of fatigue”.

Avoid tourists

“Confinement on weekends will in particular discourage our visitors from going to the Côte d’Azur during these winter holidays,” said the LR mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, for his part.

But to deal with the situation, the authorities also announced for 15 days from February 23, that businesses of more than 5,000 m2, except pharmacies and food shops, would be closed in the department, and that the gauge for shops over 400 m2 would be lowered. Controls at the Italian border and at airports will also be stepped up.

Finally, the prefect has promised an “acceleration” of the vaccine campaign in the department, where some 4,500 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are to be received in the coming days.