Is the curfew effective in curbing the Covid-19?

It is on the establishment of a curfew that the government is putting to stop the spread of the coronavirus in about twenty departments of eastern France. At least for now. ” We are going to propose an extension of the curfew, which instead of starting at 8 pm, will start at 6 pm in all the territories in which it will prove necessary ”, thus affirmed the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, on December 29 on France 2.

→ THE FACTS. Covid, a stricter curfew envisaged from January 2

Applicable from January 2, this announcement rather disappointed the local elected officials who would have preferred an immediate local reconfinement. “The curfew is a late measure, which may prove to be insufficient”, reacted Mathieu Klein, the PS mayor of Nancy. But for now, the government has chosen this less drastic option, aimed at limiting family or friendly gatherings at home as much as possible.

“This is the main objective of the curfew: to get people to go home as soon as they leave work or places of education. And no longer invite each other to each other “, emphasizes Laura Temime, epidemiologist at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (Cnam). “The risk of transmission is high in these meetings between people who know each other and meet to drink or eat together in closed spaces”, adds Pascal Crépey, teacher-researcher at the School of Advanced Studies in Public Health.

“Put an end to aperitifs and dinners with friends”

What is the point of spending from 8 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the most affected areas? Tuesday evening, Olivier Véran did not speak out on the subject. And requested by The cross, neither his ministry, nor the General Directorate of Health (DGS) were able to answer this question on Wednesday.

« Today, the curfew is set at 8 p.m. throughout France. But we see that there is a certain form of social tolerance which allows a certain number of people to continue to circulate outside after this time., remarks Professor Anne-Claude Crémieux, infectious disease specialist at Saint-Louis hospital in Paris. By setting the curfew at 6 p.m., the government no doubt wants to put an end to everything that is aperitif or dinner with friends, she continues. Because a person, checked at 9 p.m., will have a harder time finding an excuse when they had to be home three hours earlier ».

“Massive effects” in Guyana

In May 2020, the curfew was imposed with some success in Guyana. “The figures are clear: the curfew has had massive effects on the circulation of the epidemic”, declared on October 15 on France Inter Clara De Bort, director of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of the department.

→ READ. Covid-19: in Guyana, the curfew rhymes with the decline of the epidemic

In an opinion of October 28, the Scientific Council added a certain nuance by noting that in parallel with the curfew, other control measures (closure of bars and the border with Brazil) had been put in place at the same time. moment. “You never establish a curfew alone. And in the end, when we see a decrease in the circulation of the virus, it is difficult to know precisely what falls within this measurement ”, warns Professor Anne-Claude Crémieux.

A “positive impact” in October in metropolitan France

In mainland France, on October 17, a curfew (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) was also put in place in nine metropolitan areas severely affected by the virus. A week later, the measure was extended to 38 new departments. Before October 28, the government opts for light containment throughout the territory from October 30. In a study of December 18, Public Health France notes that this curfew had a “ positive impact ”By allowing a faster decrease in the number of new cases and hospital admissions in the nine metropolitan areas concerned from October 17.

For specialists, the curfew is therefore an interesting measure, but with certain limits. Thus, its introduction, everywhere in France at 8 p.m. since December 15, has not prevented the significant resumption of the circulation of the virus. “In October, we had the feeling that the curfew was an intermediate measure aimed at preparing the spirits for a second confinement that everyone knew was inevitable”, according to Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Montpellier. A scenario that could well happen again in January with a new turn of the government screw, which many consider inevitable.

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The 20 departments concerned

Twenty departments are at risk of seeing the night curfew advanced by two hours according to a list transmitted Tuesday evening 29 by the Ministry of Health. Nine are in the Grand Est: Ardennes, Aube, Marne, Haute-Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Haut-Rhin, Vosges. Doubs, Jura, Nièvre, Haute-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne and the Territoire de Belfort are also concerned in Burgundy-Franche-Comté. Finally, the measure should apply in Allier, Ardèche, Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-Maritimes.

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