“Containment is not impossible, but it is not inevitable,” hammered the head of government at a press conference, insisting on the “counterpart” of massive screening and vaccination.

“We are not facing, at least not at this stage, an exponential increase in the epidemic, as some models predicted,” he said, arguing that “over the last seven days, the number of daily contaminations increased by 1.4%, while this same figure was + 14% during the previous week ”.

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Three new departments under enhanced surveillance

However, Jean Castex, who refused to “be satisfied” with the situation, indicated that three new departments (Hautes-Alpes, Aisne and Aube) are placed under reinforced surveillance, in addition to the twenty already under this status for a week. In all these areas, non-food shopping centers of more than 10,000 m2 will be closed.

The Pas-de-Calais will also be confined in its entirety on weekends, from this Saturday, 6 a.m., and only supermarkets of less than 5,000 m2 will be open there. The agglomerations of Nice and Dunkirk (North) have already experienced this fate since last week. As expected, Paris, Ile-de-France and Marseille are escaping it, at least for now.

Speed ​​up vaccination

Calling for a “boost” on vaccination, the Prime Minister indicated that “we should have vaccinated at least 20 million people” by mid-May, or all over 50 volunteers, estimating that “by the summer, we will have received enough doses to have offered vaccination to 30 million people, or two thirds of the population over 18”.

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Some 3.2 million people have so far received a first injection, and more than 1.7 million have been vaccinated with two doses.

To give a boost, a total of 135,000 new doses will be allocated to 23 priority departments, including 12,000 in Nice and 11,000 in Paris this weekend in a flash operation, said the two town halls.

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Vaccination of caregivers

The Prime Minister also called “solemnly” the staff of residences for the elderly to be vaccinated “very quickly”, deploring that “too many of them have not yet done”, in order to allow the return of “a peaceful social life” in these establishments.

Similarly, the Prime Minister has ordered caregivers, “doctors, nurses, midwives, nursing assistants, home helpers”, to be vaccinated, while only a third of them are now required to do so. .

Even if it means making their vaccination compulsory, as demanded by some doctors? “If (the incentive) were not enough, then we could consider a referral to the National Consultative Ethics Council which would be able to tell us whether to go beyond”, warned the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran .

Asked about any vials ordered by city doctors that would not be fully used, Mr. Véran explained that “the golden rule is never to throw away the vaccine when you can vaccinate someone”, specifying that, if necessary, the caregiver can show “flexibility” and vaccinate a non-priority patient.

Back to normal

The Prime Minister, on the other hand, was cautious about a possible “return to a more normal life”, as outlined on March 3 by the government spokesman, Gabriel Attal, who had mentioned “perhaps from the half April”.

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“It’s a collective fight: if the French want us to be able to free ourselves, we must deploy vaccination and they must also respect the rules”, summoned the tenant of Matignon. Without mentioning some “health pass” imagined by the Elysee for several days.

Thursday evening, France had in the last twenty-four hours 295 deaths from Covid-19, 293 new admissions to intensive care units and 1,538 new hospital admissions.