Covid-19 and containment: the specter of a new turn of the screw

“We do not yet know if we are on the eve of a storm or if we will be able to hold out like this”, blows a ministerial adviser, noting that the Covid-19 epidemic is getting “more nervous”. Faced with this “balance, certainly precarious, admittedly difficult”, said Prime Minister Jean Castex this Tuesday morning in front of LREM deputies, the executive is sticking for the time being to its “strategy of territorialization”. Clearly, a case-by-case treatment. This Wednesday, a new Defense Council is due to examine the situation in the twenty departments placed under enhanced surveillance last week. Under the leadership of the prefects, “consultation” meetings have been linked in recent days.

In Ile-de-France, they took place in each department. As for the PS mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, and the ex-LR president of the Region, Valérie Pécresse, they were entitled to an interview on Monday with the prefects of police and the region, the head of the Regional Agency health (ARS). According to several local elected officials, different options, “which may or may not be cumulative” said one, were presented: weekend confinement with an exit permit of one hour and within a radius of 5 km in addition to the curfew at 6 p.m. on weekdays, the closure of parks and gardens or the closure of non-food businesses larger than 5,000 m2 and non-food stalls in outdoor markets, etc.

Difficult situation in Lille

Hidalgo immediately raised the harrows to the idea of ​​confinement at the weekend. Pécresse, she did not completely close the door. “It would then be necessary for the curfew to be removed or postponed after 6 p.m.”, explains for his part the president (LR) of Yvelines, Pierre Bedier, when his LR counterpart from Essonne, François Durovray, calls for “to treat differently rural and urban areas ”. Omnipresent in discussions, the famous question of acceptability. “There was a consensus that outdoor spaces should remain open, because there is a form of saturation. We feel the limits of this coercive action, ”adds Jean-Christophe Fromantin, the mayor of Neuilly-sur-Seine (Hauts-de-Seine). Also recurring are requests for the acceleration of vaccination.

In Pas-de-Calais, according to a local elected official, it is “confinement for three weekends and the generalization of the wearing of a mask”, that the prefect is preparing to propose to the government. And when that of Moselle evokes a “situation in the process of improvement”, a darker picture is presented in the North, in particular in the Lille metropolis. “The prefect told us that we were clearly facing a third wave. Without this leading to formal decisions, what he wanted to test is whether there would be a bronca against new measures and prepare the spirits, “said Senator PS, Patrick Kanner.

No relief planned

In the government, we hammer home that nothing has yet been done. “Various rumors circulate, in particular on the Ile-de-France, but no scenario is at this stage privileged and even less decided. Decisions will be taken based on the return of consultations, the evolution of the epidemic in the various territories concerned and will still be the subject of discussions on Wednesday, ”insists Matignon.

The Ministry of Health puts the equation in these terms: “In these departments, either the situation is stabilizing or even improving, and new restrictions will not be necessary. Either the epidemic situation deteriorates, or remains at a worrying level, and additional measures could be decided. “

Could it work the other way around, with local reductions in the departments that are not subject to this enhanced vigilance? To a deputy who questioned him on this point during the meeting of the LREM group in the Assembly, Jean Castex replied: “Not now, because the global trend is still worsening. The time has not come to send signals of relief. “To a similar question asked in the hemicycle, the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, insisted:” We know that for another four to six weeks, whatever happens, we will not lower the level of constraints on French. »What to set the tone.

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