Coronavirus: what France’s ‘second wave’ could look like

A second wave is “highly likely”, the French Scientific Committee has said, but what will that mean for people in France

5 August 2020
A scenario of critical clusters of Covid-19 in certain places, likely to require local lockdowns, is “probable”.
By Connexion journalist

France could see a resumption “at any moment” of the Covid-19 pandemic, warned the Conseil Scientifique in a document published on Tuesday (August 4). It added that a “second wave” could be expected in Autumn or Winter this year. 

Read more on this here.

The committee was set up to fight against the coronavirus and advises the government on issues related to the pandemic. In a previous report, published in June, it laid out plans for different possible scenarios after deconfinement. These ranged from the virus being under control, to a complete loss of control and country-wide lockdown. A scenario of critical clusters in certain places, likely to require local lockdowns, was called “probable”. 

The four scenarios:

Scenario 1: Epidemic under control

Scenario 2: One or more critical clusters showing signs of a local resumption of the epidemic

Scenario 3: A diffuse and low-key resurgence of the epidemic

Scenario 4: The epidemic reaches a critical stage

The report said that localised lockdowns should be considered early on if “critical clusters” emerged, with indications of this including a rate of more than 50 cases per 100,000 population. This was reached in Mayenne in mid-July but there has been no local lockdown so far.

The local lockdowns could be regional, departmental or municipal and would aim to avoid exporting the virus to other areas, the report said. 

They should consist of limiting residents’ movement, reinforcing the use of barrier measures - masks, hand-washing, physical distancing - and closing bars, restaurants, and other places where people socialise. There should be state aid to compensate for this. 

“These scenarios should allow the implementation of measures to avoid a sudden resumption of the epidemic, requiring new confinement,” the June report stated. 

In its most recent report, the Conseil Scientifique reiterated its suggestion of localised lockdowns. 

It mentioned the challenge of “20 big cities” in France where the risk of the virus spreading was high. 

“A local confinement, more or less strict depending on the epidemic, must be prepared in these high-density areas of population,” the report stated. 

“The development of local public health messages, combined with targeted management of the epidemic integrating support for vulnerable people and taking into account social inequalities, is essential.”

France reported 3,376 new confirmed Covid-19 cases over the last three days and the number of people being treated in intensive care for the disease started to rise.

Read more about the coronavirus:

France likely to face second coronavirus wave

France to add new airport measures as Covid-19 fears grow

France: Let young people develop immunity naturally

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