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1 Pas-de-Calais confined at weekends

After Nice and Dunkirk, it is the turn of the Pas-de-Calais department to be confined at the weekend, from this Saturday, 8 a.m., due to increased circulation of the coronavirus epidemic. “The incidence there is indeed increasing very rapidly”, noted the Prime Minister. The rate has indeed increased by 23% over the past seven days and now exceeds the threshold of 400 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, nearly double the national average. Jean Castex specified that the level of saturation of resuscitation services is “at the highest of all French departments”. Another specific measure taken for this Hauts-de-France department: large non-food retail outlets of more than 5,000 m² will be closed.

2 Three new departments under surveillance

The government has placed three new departments under enhanced surveillance due to the spread of the virus: Hautes-Alpes, Aisne and Aube. The incidence rate there exceeded 250 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants. This brings the number of departments under this status to 23.

In all these territories, non-food shopping centers of more than 10,000 m² will now be closed. A lower threshold than elsewhere in France (20,000 m²).

3 Objective: 30 million vaccinated by the summer

Jean Castex announced that 22 million doses of vaccines would be received over the next two months. While 3.2 million French people have received at least one dose and more than 1.7 million their two doses, the Prime Minister has set new objectives: 10 million French people vaccinated by mid-April, 20 million in mid-May (ie all volunteers over 50) and 30 million by the summer (ie two thirds of the population over 18).

In order to speed up vaccination in the most affected areas, “135,000 new doses will be allocated by this evening in priority departments”, announced Jean Castex. 10,000 doses will notably be sent to Pas-de-Calais.

4 Pharmacists will be able to vaccinate

Vaccination against covid-19 will be authorized in pharmacies “from the week of March 15” for “people over 50 years of age with comorbidity”. The patients concerned will “not need a medical prescription” and will be able to go “directly to the pharmacy” to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine, the Prime Minister said, adding that people aged 50 to 74 who have not “No particular pathology” will be able to be vaccinated “from mid-April”.

5 Caregivers called upon to be vaccinated

Only 30% of caregivers have already been vaccinated. A figure that rises to 40% for those working in nursing homes, with the elderly. “Clearly, that is not enough,” lamented the Minister of Health. Olivier Véran will send on Friday “a letter to all caregivers in our country, whether they are in town, in hospital, in medico-social establishment, to strongly encourage them to be vaccinated”. He has no plans for the moment to make vaccination compulsory, but he could change his mind if his appeal goes unheeded.

6 No reduction in measures before April 15

Health restrictions will not be eased until April 15 at the earliest. “The circulation of the virus has accelerated for a fortnight,” explained Jean Castex. An acceleration linked to the English variant, more contagious, which now represents more than 60% of contaminations.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister still hopes to avoid a third confinement: “Containment is not impossible, but it is not inevitable”. He called on all French people to stay at home as much as possible during the coming weekends.

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