FOCUS – The incidence rate of the virus in Mayotte has been a record, metropolitan France and overseas combined, since the start of the pandemic. The South African variant is involved.
The numbers are cold in the back. On January 3, the incidence rate of Covid-19 in Mayotte was only 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. A month later, the department has just set a very sad record. It has become the French territory most affected by the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, with an incidence rate of 804.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. A toll almost four times higher than the national average (207 cases per 100,000 inhabitants). By way of comparison, in the metropolitan department where the virus is most present, the Alpes-Maritimes, it is almost two times less (452.2 per 100,000 inhabitants) than in Mayotte. The contagiousness of the South African variant is believed to be the main cause of this Mahoran outbreak.
Faced with this alarming situation, the government decreed total containment at the end of last week, and schools were closed. To cope with the deterioration of the situation, the army deployed, Sunday, February 7, a military resuscitation module, and 31 caregivers. On site, observers remain worried.
- Is the South African variant the only one responsible for the deterioration of the health situation?
“The speed of the circulation is undoubtedly linked to this South African variant which we are told is more contagious than the conventional variant.l “, explained Sunday Dominique Voynet, director of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Mayotte, on Europe 1.”The situation is totally out of control for lack of anticipation of the inevitable arrival of the South African variant, if only by the daily arrival of kwassas from the Comoros (the boats of migrants, Editor’s note) ”, supports Mansour Kamardine, LR deputy for Mayotte. Indeed, the Mahoran epidemic outbreak was preceded by a few weeks by another, in Mohéli, at the end of December, in the Comoros. Attributed to this famous mutation, this epidemic would then have spread to Mayotte, the mixing of population – legal and illegal – being particularly strong there.
Nevertheless, in its last epidemiological point, the ARS also puts forward a set of other reasons, such as “holding gatherings, private parties and ceremonies, slackening in the application of barrier measures, including in the workplace.“
- Can containment be as effective as in metropolitan France?
“I see that confinement seems less well respected than the first time», Alerted Dominique Voynet, Monday, on a local television channel, Mayotte 1ère.
Last spring, the “metropolitan” confinement model had already shown limits. The unsanitary and cramped housing, as well as the extreme poverty of 70% of the population, were – and still are – hardly compatible with house arrest. 30% of the inhabitants have neither running water nor electricity. “It is materially difficult to respect, especially in the shanty towns where a third of the inhabitants are crowded, often illegals. We are therefore faced with a tough measure, of general application but which will only be respected by a part of the population.», Regrets Mansour Kamardine. To limit population movements, the state has put in place measures, including food vouchers and increased surveillance of maritime borders.
SEE ALSO – Covid-19: in Mayotte, residents relieved after the announcement of the containment
- Are hospital resources going to be sufficient?
“The Mayotte hospital center is saturated and requires additional resources“, Was moved Ericka Bareigts, Minister of Overseas Territories, in a letter to the Prime Minister on Sunday. According to the latest figures published by the ARS, 19 patients are in intensive care. The maximum capacities, of 22 places, have almost already been reached. Five additional places are being deployed by the Ministry of the Armed Forces. At the end of last week, two patients were already transferred to Reunion, two hours away. But the solution is not satisfactory. There too, we are also facing a rapid increase in Covid cases.
- Will the vaccination campaign be fast and effective enough?
“The prospect of a global vaccination of the population by the month of August no longer makes sense in Mayotte, Mansour Kamardine alert. LThe government must set itself ambitions commensurate with the epidemic situation and seek collective immunity as quickly as possible“, Points out the deputy LR. Vaccine deliveries – long lagging behind the metropolis – accelerated last week. 2,436 people received a dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine. However, doubts remain about the effectiveness of the latter, and especially that of AstraZeneca, against the South African variant. “I have been asking for the last month to send urgently 15,000 doses of vaccine which would cover everyone over 50, but also that Mayotte be given the Moderna vaccine as a priority”, confides the elected official, worried.