The establishment of a third containment is not excluded if the epidemic situation “were to worsen”, declared the Minister of Health Olivier Véran in the Journal du Dimanche, on December 27 on the occasion of the launch of the campaign vaccination in France.

“We never rule out measures that may be necessary to protect populations. That does not mean that we have decided, but that we are observing the situation hour by hour,” he underlines in an interview.

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Risk of a third wave

The authorities fear the arrival of a third wave in the weeks following the end of the year holidays. Especially since the circulation of the virus is still important, with “15,000 contaminations detected per day on average, whereas we had fallen to 11,000 …”, points out Mr. Véran.

“The objective of 5,000 (cases of contamination per day) is moving away. And the pressure on the health system remains high, with 1,500 hospitalizations per day, a tension which decreases very little in intensive care”, underlines the minister, who said they were ready to take “the necessary measures if the situation worsened”.

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Increase in rural areas

The situation is already worrying in the “Grand Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and the Alpes-Maritimes department, starting with Nice”, with “an” increase in the incidence among the elderly in certain rural areas “.

Several mayors in eastern France, including Reims, have been pleading for several days to “reconfigure either on a territorial basis or at the national level”.

In Nice, Mayor Christian Estrosi will convene a public health council on December 28, faced with rising Covid indicators (including the positivity rate close to 7%) and a “relaxation in respect of barrier gestures and distancing social, “he announced in a statement Sunday.

Also read: “A return to normal at the end of 2021” thanks to vaccines, according to Professor Fontanet

Impact of family reunions

While many countries have already taken measures of reconfinement, France has “made the choice of strict and difficult measures earlier to let the French breathe during the holidays”, defends Olivier Véran in the JDD. According to him, “it worked, not enough, of course”, with more than 40,000 new cases of Covid recorded in 48 hours (on December 24 and 25).

Only 3,093 cases were recorded on Saturday with the Christmas truce and the closure of laboratories.

“We will quickly know if the family and festive gatherings will have an impact,” said the minister after an exceptional lifting of the curfew on the evening of 24 to allow the French to move. For the New Year, he advises not to celebrate it. “We cannot, for one evening, take the risk of blocking the country again for weeks.”

Read also: Covid: vaccines would remain effective despite the virus mutation

Start of the vaccination campaign

Vaccination began on December 27 morning, with a dozen elderly people and a volunteer caregiver in a hospital in Sevran, in Seine-Saint-Denis. It continued in the afternoon in a geriatric center dependent on the Dijon University Hospital.

“This vaccine protects 95% of individuals against severe cases and will save a lot of lives,” said the minister, recalling that “for the elderly, the risk of dying from Covid-19 is high”.