Pas-de-Calais is experiencing its first weekend of new confinement on Saturday to stem the Covid-19 epidemic, “still worrying” according to Public Health France, against the backdrop of acceleration of the national vaccination campaign.
Faced with the spread of the virus and variants, the government is counting on the extension of a measure already in force in the agglomerations of Dunkirk and Nice.
For more than two million people, this means a derogatory certificate for any movement, and the limit of 5 km and one hour around the home to take the air, on this sunny weekend.
It is also an additional difficulty for businesses in the Pas-de-Calais department, which like everywhere else were trying to catch up on Saturday sales that they do not achieve during the week by being forced to close at 6:00 p.m. Non-essential ones with 5,000 m² or more of usable space have even been closed by prefectural decree.
“Four Saturdays is really a big blow”, explained Sarah Pruvost on Friday, in her textile shop in Arras.
– Blood pressure in the hospital –
The executive justifies the measure by the strong strain on hospital capacities, filled to “90%” according to the prefect, and the prevalence of the English variant of the virus, more contagious and detected in more than two thirds of cases in the department.
With 149,307 cases detected during the last week of February (+ 7%) in France and nearly 3,700 Covid-19 patients in intensive care, the situation remains worrying.
“Territorial disparities are significant and require local adaptation of epidemic control measures,” Public Health France recalled on Friday, with the regions “most affected” Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, Hauts -de-France and Ile-de-France.
But according to the mayor (RN) of Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais), Steeve Briois, the measure “has the effect of stigmatizing” the inhabitants, who are “punished and treated differently because the State accumulates failures “.
The executive insists on accelerating vaccination, with the goal of 10 million first injections in mid-April, 20 million in mid-May and 30 million this summer. Currently, less than 3.4 million French people have received at least one dose.
As of Thursday, this was the case for 5.1% of the French population. The figures are low in some of the 21 departments “under reinforced surveillance”: 2.8% in Seine-Saint-Denis, 3.0% in Seine-et-Marne, 4.1% in Pas-de-Calais or even 4.4% in the Rhône.
– Population “at the rendezvous” –
Pas-de-Calais is opening new vaccination centers this weekend, with 7,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine and 3,500 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered, as in Lens for example.
“Yesterday evening (Friday) it was panic, we only had one registered for 1,800 doses. Since then it has filled up and the doses should be used up”, explained to AFP the urban community of Lens-Liévin. But “the population is there, things are going well”, confirmed to AFP on Saturday morning the mayor of Lens, Sylvain Robert (PS).
Prime Minister Jean Castex, who will visit an ephemeral vaccination center in Essonne in the afternoon, has promised that the government will “put the package on vaccination” in March and April because the next few weeks will remain ” very sensitive “.
A hundred vaccination centers are open Saturday and Sunday in the Paris region, to sell “an exceptional allocation of 51,000 doses of Pfizer vaccines”, or all of the doses injected throughout France on certain days, announced the Regional Health Agency Ile-de-France.
According to its director Aurélien Rousseau, quoted by Le Parisien, if the calendar lacks clarity, it is because “there are a lot of uncertainties about the deliveries” of the laboratories. This weekend are targeted first over 75 years, “as many people as we will not have in intensive care,” he says. An operation of “mass vaccination” because “time is running out”, explained the prefect of police of Paris, Didier Lallement from a fire station transformed into a vaccination center.
Four military hospitals are also opening vaccination centers this weekend, in Metz, Toulon, Saint-Mandé (Val-de-Marne) and Villenave-d’Ornon (Gironde).
The Order of Physicians reminded “all caregivers” that it was “urgent” to be vaccinated, by “duty of exemplary” and “ethical requirement”. Only 30% of them have been so far, a level deemed very insufficient by the authorities.