Minister of health Oliver Veran said the government is doing everything possible to avoid another confinement and, as long as the overall situation does not deteriorate quickly, no further measures are envisioned until after school holidays end on March 8. However, next week is key in determining further action as even though case numbers are slowly declining, the more contagious variants are making up a higher percentage of overall cases.
Currently, there are 2 million tests a week being carried out in France at over 12 million testing locations, from pharmacies to hospitals, and the current positivity rate is 6%. (Monaco tested 5,422 people last week and had a 5.68% positivity rate.)
From tonight, Santé publique France, will be publishing a map to indicate where the new variants are circulating across the country. 36% of Covid cases in France are the British variant with 5% of other variants, except in Dunkirk where the British strain makes up 72% of the cases and the rate of incidence has surged to 600 per 100,000 people. The Alpes-Maritimes has also exploded to 577 per 100,000—three time the national rate—and Veran is expected to visit Nice, which is particularly troubling with a rate of 735.8 per 100,000, on Saturday.
During this evening’s press conference, Veran announced that from Monday, isolation periods for those testing positive with Covid will be extended from 7 to 10 days because the new strains are more contagious, but anyone who has been in contact with someone with Covid can isolate for 7 days.
Meanwhile, the minister of culture held a videoconference today with summer festival organizers to discuss the framework for allowing up to 5,000 “sitting” spectators.
In business news, Air France-KLM Group today reported a loss of €7.1 billion in 2020 amid Covid travel chaos as passenger numbers plummeted 67% and consequently they announced that 6,000 jobs will be cut.
The crisis has also taken a toll on the sales of pens and razors. Bic has reported a 16.5% drop in turnover, to €1.63 billion euros. The French company’s net profit was nearly halved to €93.7 million as school closures have impacted stationery orders and working from home “has led to a drop in the frequency of men shaving.”