The Monaco government has announced today that from January 10, the health pass will be extended to a number of business sectors where customer contact is close and prolonged. For the construction and beauty (esthetics, hairdressers) sectors, tattoo parlors and sports establishments, staff and customers will have to provide a health pass.
Faced with the increase number of positive Covid cases in recent days (334 over six days) and a gradual deterioration in hospital capacity, the government, has named “a series of measures to limit the spread of the virus while making it possible to celebrate the New Year in a favorable economic and social context and to approach the start of the school year.”
For December 31, gatherings of more than 10 people on public streets are prohibited, as is alcohol consumption in public. No dancing or karaoke, or eating or drinking while standing in establishments will be permitted. Restaurants and bars will remain open and there is no curfew at this point but the sale of alcohol for take away will be prohibited after 8 p.m. There will be no celebrations at Place du Casino or Port Hercules for New Year’s Eve. All musical entertainment must end at 1 a.m.
Although 66,000 vaccinal injections have been administered in Monaco and 66.7% of the resident population eligible for the vaccine (aged over 12) have benefited from being completely vaccinated, “this rate is not sufficient with the arrival of the Omicron variant.”
Two major measures in Monaco will be put in place to fight against the spread of the virus. On Monday, January 3, the first day of school, each student will find a self-test on their desk. These will be rapid, nasopharyngeal, but non-invasive and easy-to-use self-tests recommended by pediatricians. By the start of the school year, each parent will have received a message from the Department of National Education, Youth and Sports informing them of the implementation of this screening system, on a voluntary basis, and subject to the communication of a signed parental authorization. Each member of the National Education staff can also benefit from this system.
Self-tests for employees will also be offered to employers. 50,000 self-tests have been ordered for employees and as the government had put in place for masks, employers will be able to obtain self-tests via a teleservice. “The goal is to ensure that those Covid positive are quickly detected and directly taken care of to break the chain of contamination,” the government said.
In France, prime minister Jean Castex and health minister Olivier Veran held a joint press conference Monday at 7:15 p.m. to announce new measures to slow the spread of Covid. Neither a curfew for New Year’s Eve nor extending school holidays were part of the “more lasting” actions.
The conference followed an urgent health defense council meeting at 4 p.m. chaired by president Emmanuel Macron after more than 100,000 new daily cases of Covid were reported on December 24. “Hospital admissions are moderate but steady but healthcare workers are exhausted...Vaccination rests the heart of our strategy,” the prime minister said. While Omicron is more contagious, even for those vaccinated or previously infected, first reports show that hospital stays for patients with this strain are shorter than, for example, the Delta variant.
From Tuesday, December 28, the delay between the second and third vaccination dose in France will be reduced to three months. The government will announce a new period of isolation for contact cases at the end of the week.
Additionally, large gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 2,000 people inside, and 5,000 outdoors. But there are no other restrictions for December 31. In the New Year, for a period of three weeks, working from home will be mandatory, where possible, for three days minimum per week and “if possible” four days. Labor minister Elisabeth Borne will hold talks on Tuesday to finalize details.
The draft bill for the Vaccination Pass, which would replace the health pass (except for health institutions like hospitals), states it will be obligatory to present the pass to access restaurants, bars, conferences, leisure activities, gyms and inter-regional transport. And, according to the text, people verifying passes would be allowed to check ID of pass holders.
Initially scheduled to come into force end of January, the bill will be examined by the National Assembly from Wednesday, before going to the Senate from January 5 with implementation scheduled for January 15.
In France, the incidence rate is 712 per 100,000 people while in the Alpes-Maritimes it 1,048 with hospital capacity in the department stretched to 98%.