Grim news at the weekly French Covid press conference. There were 45,000 new cases in France today – a 50% jump on the current daily average. Three new départements will go into “lockdown lite” from tomorrow: Nièvre, Rhône and Aube. 1 /4
The heath minister Olivier Véran says the Paris area, the north (Hauts-de-France) and the Nice-Cannes area are worst effected by this new surge in cases caused almost entirely by the UK variant of Covid-19. The situation in these areas, is “extremely worrying”, he says. 2/4
Over 1,400 acute care beds are now occupied in Ile de France (greater Paris). Emergency effort is under way to lift the number available (usually 1,000) to 2,250 by mobilising all public and private health resources. Up to 80% of scheduled operations will have to be postponed 3/4
Véran says average age of ICU patients is falling. Often they have no underlying health problem. This is partly because vaccinations are keeping older people immune, but the new variants also seem to be more aggressive against some young people. 4/4

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More from @john_lichfield

27 Mar
Weekly French vaccination thread

Good news, v good news, on the French vaccine programme. Bad news is also available, including a devastating surge of the UK Covid variant.
But it is NO LONGER TRUE to say, as much media habitually says, that Fr. vax prog is shambolic etc 1/12
Since I was one of the first to complain in boring detail about the poor vax numbers in France 2 months ago, I am delighted to be able to point to the extraordinary jab tally of the last 3 days. Over 1,000,000 doses were given in 72hrs, including 923,820 1st vaccinations. 2/12 Image
The daily average of shots given in France for the last 3 days was 351,581. This is still a long way behind the daily peaks achieved in the UK but not so far behind the current UK daily av. of around 570,000. France should continue to improve in the weeks ahead. 3/12
Read 12 tweets
24 Mar
Weekly French Covid thread

President Macron has bet his Covid policy - and his chances of re-election - on a double or quits gamble. Having refused a 3rd lock down 2 months ago, he has played for time with a “lockdown lite” covering a third of the French population of 66m 1/12
Is it a lockdown? Can it work? For many the new rules in 16 départements in Paris area, N. Normandy, N.W. France and Alpes Maritimes represent little change. Non-essential shops are closed. Exercise before curfew is unlimited. More office workers are meant to work from home. 2/12
The aim is to hold back UK variant of C19 until vaccination takes effect. In 1st week, acute cases have risen (but not soared) to 4,634, approaching the 4,919 (16 Nov) peak of the 2nd Lockdown. Cases jumped to an av. 29, 280 a day. They halved yesterday but that was a blip 3/12
Read 12 tweets
20 Mar
Weekly French vaccination thread.
What a confusing week. Confusion is bad, especially in France where anti-vax feeling is rife. And yet I’m going (for once) to defend France's vax effort from the more hysterical criticism (especially in the UK). 1/12
Despite a 3 day emergency pause in AstraZeneca shots, France kept up a respectable pace of jabbing this week – an average 168,407 first jabs a day, enough to hit is target of 10m by mid-April. The use of doses received from the EU, 50% at the end of Jan, is now around 80%.
Despite the howling mockery, France's decision on Friday to limit AZ shots to over-55s (for now) makes sense. Incidence of v. v. rare but grave types of blood clots (ie not all clots) has increased between 5 and 8 times amongst under-55’s in Europe who have taken AZ. 3/12
Read 12 tweets
18 Mar
EU meds agency says AstraZeneca is effective and safe to use - but there MAY be a very rare connection with deep vein blood clots which should be examined further. French PM Castex is giving a presser in 30mins. Will he annnounce a a resumption of AZ jabs?…
Le Figaro seems to have the answer on how soon AZ jabs will restart in France. PM Jean Castex will publicly have an AZ shot (even though he doesn't qualify by age or illness) tomorrow afternoon.…
But what else will Castex announce at the top of the hour? It seemed certain yesterday that the greater Paris area and much of N.France would be placed in a weekend only lockdown (at least). Now rumours suggest that Pres Macron has opted for something much more complicated.
Read 21 tweets
17 Mar
Weekly French Covid thread.
Big decisions are expected at a health defence council chaired by Pres Macron this morning. A weekend lockdown in the greater Paris area, Ile-de-France? Probably. Maybe even a complete lockdown of the capital/ surrounding area for 2 to 3 weeks. 1/12
Macron has been postponing the decision on Paris (for political reasons mostly) since late Feb but can no longer delay. Ile de France now has the highest incidence rate in the country – 418.9 cases per 100,000 people in 7 days to 13 March. 2/12
Intensive care in the Paris area is overwhelmed – 1,117 beds occupied by C19 patients last night, despite transfers elsewhere. Normal total IC beds for ALL cases is 1,000.
The betting is on a weekend lockdown (like those in force in the Nice area and the north). 3/12
Read 12 tweets
13 Mar
Weekly French vaccination thread.
Good news/bad news.
The good news includes the fact that France administered 1,500,000 shots in 7 days to Thursday, including 1,170,000 1st doses. This is +200,000 shots a day on average, after an av. 76,000 in 1st 10 weeks of the roll-out
Other good news (for me anyway), I received a 1st AstraZeneca jab at my doc's surgery in Calvados yesterday. Slight fever today but no real sickness. The process took 40 minutes: a thorough Q and A with a locum doctor, a jab by a nurse and 15 mins wait before I could leave.
Other good news (for everyone), the EU and France have approved a fourth type of vaccine – Janssen or Johnson and Johnson – which will be available from next month. This is a one-shot only vaccine and easy to store. It should be offered through GP’s and pharmacies. 3/12
Read 13 tweets

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