Is it too early to end containment? Europe was grappling this weekend with fears of a new wave of coronavirus infections. While France was on the eve of its deconfinement on Sunday, Germany received the first worrying signals about its own, started only a few days ago. For its part, the United Kingdom has decided to postpone its recovery for July.
If deconfinement is necessary in France in order to stem the economic recession, warnings have multiplied against any slackening of attention and protective gestures.
The president, Emmanuel Macron, tweeted at the start of the evening: “Thanks to you, the virus has receded. But it is still there. “
In the so-called “green” areas, that is to say where the risk of contagion is supposed to be lower, “we must consider that the virus is there. It is in ambush, it is circulating, “warned Professor Anne-Claude Crémieux, infectious disease specialist at Saint-Louis hospital in Paris.
Three new epidemic foci have been discovered in the departments of Dordogne, Vienne and Vendée, raising the alarm to the authorities.
These fears seem to be widely shared by the millions of people who are about to return to work on Monday: 53% say they have more fear for their health or that of their loved ones that of the economic consequences of the crisis, according to an Ifop survey.
COVID – 19 broke 24 400 lives in France since 1 er March. With 70 additional deaths in 24 hours announced Sunday evening, this country has just registered the lowest figure since 17 March, date from the start of containment. In addition, the pressure on resuscitation services continues to ease, with a balance of 36 fewer patients.
But there are still 2776 patients suffering from severe forms of COVID – 19 hospitalized in intensive care. And the absence of treatment or vaccine leads to vigilance.
“Unfortunately, the evolution of the epidemic is extremely uncertain to date, and it is the future that will allow us to decide,” summarized Professor Crémieux.
London extends confinement
Stores and primary schools will be able to open in the UK in early June in the event of progress in the fight against the COVID pandemic – 19, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Sunday in a television announcement decreeing the extension of confinement ordered by March.
Near 32 000 people who tested positive for coronavirus died in the UK, the second most bereaved country, after the United States. And although the number of deaths and hospitalizations is decreasing, the situation remains worrying, particularly in retirement homes.
In early July, “if all the conditions are met”, the government hopes to “reopen at least part” of cafes and restaurants and other public places.
The population is for the moment called to continue its efforts with a nuance: if teleworking is always recommended, those who cannot work from home are now “actively encouraged” to go to work, as soon as Monday. They are however asked to avoid public transport and to maintain a distance of two meters between each individual.
Little consolation: from Wednesday, the British can leave their homes as much as they want to play sports and sunbathe. On the other hand, the fines will be more expensive for those who do not respect the rules of physical distance.
Labor opposition leader Keir Starmer has criticized Boris Johnson's lack of “clarity”. “The Prime Minister's statement raises more questions than it [ne donne de réponses],” he tweeted.
For its part, Germany is registering first worrying signals only a few days after having declared the start of a return to normalcy against coronavirus.
The National Institute of Virology Robert Koch, responsible for monitoring the evolution of the pandemic, reported Sunday an increase in the rate of infection, ironed around the area considered to be potentially dangerous, at 1 , 1.
In particular, new outbreaks of contamination have been reported in retirement homes and industrial meat processing plants, employing hundreds of workers from Eastern Europe in questionable hygienic conditions. Several of these workshops have been closed, and large-scale tests have been ordered in this industry.
These incidents seem to confirm the fears of Chancellor Angela Merkel, who had to give in to pressure from the German regions on Wednesday, during a stormy meeting, to accept new stages of deconfinement.
According to several media reports, she even threatened to resign on this occasion in the face of the eagerness of the regions. The Chancellor fears that the population will relax too quickly and cause a second wave of infection.
Sunday, Germany recorded 169 218 case of contamination, or only 667 more during 24 last hours, which is a little compared to the average of the last weeks. The number of deaths was 7395, a fatality rate of 4.4%, lower than that of most other large countries.
In this context, the authorities announced on Wednesday a gradual return to normal, after the start of deconfinement on 20 April, with in particular the reopening of primary schools and restaurants.