Coronavirus, what you need to know this week: speed up the vaccination

After the controversies over the very slow start of the vaccination campaign, the government is shifting into high gear under the threat of the English variant.


The holiday spirit will not have passed January. As soon as the new year has started, the polemics are unleashed around the vaccination campaign that began on December 28. Much too slow for the opposition and public opinion. The French, however, remain in their majority refractory to vaccination. The government will announce this Thursday the new terms of the vaccine strategy which should accelerate rapidly. There is an emergency because the English variant is wreaking havoc in the now totally reconfined UK. In France, restaurateurs and cultural circles seem resigned to remaining closed for many more weeks while Ski stations rush into stretchers and hope for a reopening before the February holidays.

Dear subscribers, all my best wishes for this year 2021 and happy reading,

Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro.

1. Speed ​​up vaccination

A caregiver is vaccinated at the Nanterre hospital. BENOIT TESSIER / REUTERS

What will Jean Castex announce? The threat of a third confinement hangs over the start of the 2021 school year. After the holding of a Defense Council yesterday, the Prime Minister is due to speak this evening at 6 pm at a press conference where he will specify the vaccine strategy of the executive. Several government sources indicated yesterday that the management of the territorialized health crisis should continue, with an updated map of France and new departments subject to a more restrictive curfew. Between the impact of the holidays and the English variant, the situation is unstable in France and does not lend itself to optimism. More than 25,000 new cases were detected yesterday and the positivity rate is on the rise. Indicators which have fluctuated for a few weeks and add to the confusion. The increase in the number of cases is accompanied by a slight decrease in the number of hospitalized patients, 163 fewer on Wednesday (1,433 in total). In intensive care, the figures are stable.

The cruising speed of vaccination will join that of our neighbors in the coming days.

Olivier Véran, Minister of Health on RTL

The vaccination campaign is expected to accelerate. Tuesday evening, Emmanuel Macron unveiled to local elected officials of Touraine the main lines of the acceleration of the vaccine strategy, criticized for its slowness. The executive intends to install in January, 5 or 6 centers per department said the Head of State. For their part, the presidents of regions, revolted by the failures of the national vaccination campaign, would like to take control. In Normandy, Hervé Morin began negotiations directly with suppliers to purchase doses. The Minister of Health has promised an acceleration. “The cruising speed of vaccination” from France goes “Join that of our neighbors in the coming days”. Vaccination is from this week extended to firefighters and home helpers over 50 years old. With the accumulated delay, the goal of one million people vaccinated at the end of the month remains a real challenge. The more so as the syringe needles distributed by Public Health France would be according to some witnesses unsuitable. The green light given yesterday by the European Medicines Agency to Moderna’s vaccine should, however, give a boost to the deployment of vaccination.

The vaccination campaign, a new subject of controversy. After the masks and the tests, the vaccination campaign started so slowly in France arouses virulent criticism from the opposition. Damien Abad, president of the LR group, sent a letter to the President of the Assembly asking him to schedule an urgent hearing with the Minister of Health. “Each lost day brings us closer to a third confinement and endangers new citizens, it’s unbearable“, Is also carried away the president of the PS group in the Senate, Patrick Kanner. Guest of “Talk-Le Figaro“, Jean Rottner, president of the Grand Est region, qualifies the government’s vaccination strategy as”state scandal“. The irony of the situation is that the French who are so quick to denigrate public action remain mostly resistant to vaccination with a refusal rate of 58%. Yet much more advanced than France in the number of vaccinations, European governments are not immune to blame in their country. German media ridicule the lack of organization and supply problems whileEl Pais in Spain denounces the delay in the campaign. Only one thing makes them agree: they still do better than the French. “Vaccinodromes», Wider audience, precise organization, use of the army: what strategy have other countries chosen? Le Figaro make the point.

2. Monitor the English variant

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday a new containment of the country. ANDREW COULDRIDGE / REUTERS

The English variant threatens Europe. With a spread of 50 to 75% faster than the classic strain of Covid-19, the variant discovered across the Channel is worrying. In the UK, around 60,000 new cases a day are detected. “France is about two months behind England, specifies in Figaro Yazdan Yazdanpanah, the director of the new institute on emerging infectious diseases. But it is still too early to say that it will win in our country. It will depend on the measures taken to limit its dissemination. ” Schools in particular should be observed closely. British experts point to the role of children and schools in the circulation of the virus with adolescents aged 12 to 16 years seven times more at risk of introducing the coronavirus into a household than those over 17 years old. Faced with the risk of submersion of the British health service, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday evening announced a reconfinement of the whole country almost as strict as last spring. A decision that European countries are seeking to avoid for the moment. Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium … Le Figaro goes around the restrictions in force among our neighbors. This will not console the French expatriates in London and the cross-Channel workers who, between Brexit and reconfinement, are subject to a real headache.

3. Keep tracks, restaurants and cinemas closed

French ski resorts would like to reopen like here in Austria ALEX HALADA / AFP

No reopening yet. Even before the announcements expected this evening, the sectors still closed have already been warned that the situation was not going to unblock. So the ski resorts know that the ski lifts will not restart on January 7. And fear to be closed again for the February holidays. Restaurant owners have only one certainty, their doors will remain closed after January 20. Received Tuesday by Bruno Le Maire, they presented their complaints: better visibility and an extension of aid. Aid that they also estimate “up to”, Even if they do not protect against the moral exhaustion they suffer. The vagueness also persists for the culture and entertainment sector. “We have no visibility“On the reopening, admitted Roselyne Bachelot who however defined an order of priorities. “The reopening of museums, artistic and cultural education are priorities», She clarified. The only clarification for some is the return to the office once a week for employees working from home. It is authorized from this Thursday for volunteers with the agreement of their employer. “I look forward to seeing colleagues again. Just for the pleasure of sharing a coffee», Testifies a young woman.

4. Curfew, instructions for use

Partly deconfined, France is under curfew since December 15. While it is now possible to move around freely during the day, leaving your home is prohibited between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., under penalty of a fine of 135 euros. In 15 departments where the virus is circulating more intensely, the curfew is brought forward to 6 p.m. since January 2.

There are exceptional reasons for which a certificate must be presented.

  • Business trips.
  • Consultations and care
  • Travel for imperative family reasons.
  • Travel for people with disabilities and their companions.
  • Judicial or administrative summons.
  • Participation in missions of general interest
  • Travel related to transit
  • Short trips for the needs of pets.

5. Reflexes to keep

A few simple actions can limit the spread of the virus. Here they are :

  • Wash your hands every hour or use hydroalcoholic gel
  • Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow
  • Use disposable tissues
  • Avoid kissing or shaking hands
  • Wear a mask in public spaces when respect for physical distances is not guaranteed.

Covid-19 is transmitted through droplets (respiratory secretions), by close contact with an infected person, especially when the latter coughs or sneezes. But it can also be transmitted through the air. The virus also remains viable for a few hours on different surfaces.

The disease manifests itself in several symptoms. In 9 out of 10 cases, this results in a fever below 39 ° C. According to the World Health Organization, this fever is most often accompanied by fatigue, signs of shortness of breath and a dry cough. Often a loss of smell and taste.

6. What to do in case of symptoms?

The most important thing is to get tested. According to the recommendations of the Ministry of Health, you should, in case of symptoms, stay at home and contact your doctor who will order a test. While waiting for the result, you must isolate yourself, wear a mask and prepare a list of people you could have infected.

If the test is positive, the Primary Health Insurance Fund will contact people likely to be infected. You must then remain isolated for at least 8 days, taking care not to infect your loved ones. Watch your health. In case of fever, take paracetamol. If necessary, schedule a follow-up remote consultation with your doctor. If you feel that you are having difficulty breathing, call 15.

If the test is negative, contact your doctor and follow his instructions.

See you next week.


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