While France has abandoned almost all its restrictions, the epidemic is blazing in China and Hong Kong.
Were it not for the rumblings of war at the gates of Europe and galloping inflation, the French could say to themselves since Monday: “Finally, we can breathe!” The mask is stored almost everywhere, the vaccine pass suspended despite a rebound in the epidemic. In China and Hong Kong, champions of the zero Covid strategy, the number of Omicron cases is soaring. The time is certainly not for relaxation but for the runaway confinements and drastic isolation. In France, companies are taking up the post-Covid challenge while the organization of work needs to be rebuilt.
Camille Lestienne, journalist at Figaro
1. Back to normal life
Last Monday, France abandoned the vaccination pass and the wearing of compulsory masks almost everywhere. The end of the mask is experienced by many as the symbol of liberation after two years of Covid. He will, however, remain in family photos.a benchmark, a marker for the years 2020-2022“, notes Agnès Leclair of the Society department, retracing the saga of this object. First deemed useless and then an essential tool for deconfinement, the mask has invaded our daily lives and our pockets. But, with their eyes riveted on the curves of the epidemic, some do not intend to remove it anytime soon.
SEE ALSO – Covid-19: Jean Castex announces the lifting of the sanitary pass and the wearing of a mask indoors on March 14
Because the rebound is there. The number of daily cases is now on the rise again as the drop in hospital and intensive care unit admissions is slowing and appears to be heading towards a fairly high plateau. The government made “the right decision” to lift the restrictions, Olivier Véran said again on Wednesday, assuring that this rebound was expected and that the hospital is not at risk of saturation. In England too, after the lifting of restrictions, the virus is regaining ground. This does not panic the government, which even intends to soon abandon certain epidemic monitoring programs to the chagrin of scientists.
The figures to remember in France
- 1728 patients in critical care (-55 since the day before)
- 20.757 hospitalized patients (-162 since the day before)
- 108.832 new cases detected (compared to 69,190 a week ago)
- 145 deaths in 24 hours in hospital (140,613 dead since the start of the epidemic in hospitals and nursing homes)
Source: Public Health France as of March 16
2. The Omicron wave in China and Hong Kong
As Europe lifts its restrictions, China and Hong Kong face a surge in the epidemic. In China, millions of people are confined to Shenzhen, Shanghai, Yanji or Jilin. “It’s the panic. In the office it’s like Squid Game: every day there are fewer participants”, dares an employee in Shanghai. But the contagiousness of the Omicron variant is undermining Xi Jinping’s zero Covid doctrine a few months before a Party Congress where he should run for a third term. In Hong Kong, the Omicron wave shows a mortality rate of 5.2%, the highest in the world, and disrupts the hospital. Here too, the government persists in applying draconian isolation rules which scare expatriates panicked by stays in health camps and the risk of being separated from their children.
SEE ALSO — Faced with rising cases of Covid-19 infection in China, temporary hospital set up in Jilin province
3. Post-Covid, a challenge for businesses
The employees are delighted to rediscover since Monday the unmasked face of their colleagues, but the Covid epidemic will all the same have had a lasting impact on the organization of the company. “With the crisis, the relationship to work has changed and everything, or almost everything, has to be rebuiltremarks Marc Landré of the economy department. After the massive use of telework, there will be no turning back. We now move on to the stage ofhybrid work“, according to Bruno Mettling, founding president of Topics, a strategic consulting firm. To companies “to move away from an approach by profession to move towards a division by activity making it possible to isolate “teleworkable” tasks from those that are not“. But managers must also take into account the emergence of a search for meaning and a need for freedom and autonomy, particularly among young graduates who are much less attracted than before by large groups or prestigious firms.
4. Fourth dose for the most fragile
Last Saturday, the Prime Minister announced the opening of the fourth dose of the vaccine to people over 80 who had received their booster dose for more than three months. A measure which could concern around 2.5 million people, including 500,000 living in nursing homes or long-term care units (USLD). “Older people have weaker and less resilient immune systems than younger people. Their immune memory capacity is not zero, but it weakens significantly“, was justified Tuesday the president of the Council of orientation of the vaccine strategy (COSV), Alain Fisher.
SEE ALSO – Covid-19: Jean Castex announces the opening of the booster dose for all adolescents aged 12 to 17
Vaccination figures in France
- 54.3 million people received a first dose (80.5% of the population).
- 53.3 million of French people have a complete vaccination schedule (79.1% of the population).
- 39.3 million booster doses administered.
Source: Ministry of Health as of March 16
5. Mask and pass
Since March 14, health restrictions linked to the epidemic have been mostly abandoned. However, mask and pass are still required in some places:
The mask is still required in public passenger transport and health establishments. Wearing a mask remains recommended for positive people and contact cases at risk, symptomatic people and health professionals.
The sanitary pass (vaccine, negative test, certificate of recovery) is always requested at the entrance to hospitals, retirement homes and establishments for the disabled.
6. The reflexes to keep
The virus is transmitted by droplets and aerosols. The barrier gestures detailed by the Ministry of Health must be observed to protect themselves and others:
- Wash your hands regularly or use hydroalcoholic gel
- Cough or sneeze into the crease of your elbow
- Use single-use tissues
- Avoid touching your face
- Air the rooms as often as possible, at least a few minutes every hour
- Greet without shaking hands and stop kissing
7. What to do in case of symptoms?
The disease is most often manifested by cough, fever or feeling feverish, loss of smell and taste, fatigue. If after a few days, you have trouble breathing or are out of breath, you should contact 15. The symptoms would be lighter with the Omicron variant, similar to those of a cold: sore throat, headache, runny nasal.
In case of signs of the disease, the most important thing is to get tested. The test, PCR or antigen, remains free for non-vaccinated people on medical prescription or after having been identified as a contact case by Health Insurance. In the event of a positive result on a self-test, a confirmation PCR test is recommended. While waiting for the result, you must isolate yourself, wear a mask and prepare the list of people you could have infected. If the test is positive, isolation must last 7 days from the first symptoms for vaccinated persons, 10 days for unvaccinated people. It can be broken on D+5 or D+7 respectively, if you have a negative test and you have had no symptoms for 48 hours.
See you next week.