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Alpes-Maritimes faces possible lockdown as Covid cases rise

A local lockdown or a tougher curfew is being considered and extra vaccine doses are being sent to the department, the worst affected in metropolitan France

Health Minister Olivier Véran has said today (February 20) that extra Covid-19 restrictions will probably be announced for the Alpes-Maritimes department by the end of this weekend due to a “worrying” rise in Covid-19 cases.

He said this could involve an accentuation of curfew measures or a partial or total lockdown in the department, which has the highest number of Covid cases in metropolitan France. 

The department is also set to receive 3,500 additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming days followed by “thousands more doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine”, Mr Véran said.

A programme of mass testing will be launched for schools in the department when pupils return after the winter break.

Mr Véran made the announcements on a visit to Nice, the department’s capital. 

The incidence rate - the number of positive cases of Covid-19 recorded per 100,000 inhabitants - in Alpes-Maritimes is 577. 

In the city of Nice, it stands at 751, the most of any city in metropolitan France. The national incidence rate is 190.3.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who met with Mr Véran today, said that “we must now do everything possible to curb the Covid-19 epidemic in our department”.

“If new restrictive measures were to be taken quickly by the government in consultation with local elected officials, I would support them,” he stated. 

The below graph shows the daily number of recorded positive Covid-19 cases in the Alpes-Maritimes department since June, 2020.

The below graph shows the number of people in hospital due to Covid-19 in the Alpes-Maritimes department since April, 2020. 

The occupancy rate of beds in intensive care units in hospitals in the Alpes-Maritimes was recorded at 95.7% on February 14. This has led to some patients having to be transferred to hospitals in neighbouring departments. 

Mr Estrosi had introduced a ban on holiday rentals in Nice for the majority of February to try to stem the number of tourists coming to the city, but the ruling was overturned by an administrative court. 

The court judge said of the decision that while the Covid situation in the Alpes-Maritimes department was worrying, state representatives there had not forbidden people from travelling to the department.

They also stated that there had not been any great influx of tourists to the Côte d’Azur, where Nice is located, and that holiday rentals were already following strict sanitary measures set out by UPLT, the Union des Professionnels de la Location Touristique.

Read more:

Airbnb hosts in Nice welcome court reversal of mayor’s ban

Macron to see in around 10 days if Covid rules can ease

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