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Covid-19 France: nasal test numbers to be given

From today, the number of positive cases of Covid-19 revealed by nasal tests is to be shown for each department of France as a fourth set of data used to categorise areas as green or red for deconfinement rules.

The aim is to give a more precise idea of the circulation of the virus.

The number of positive tests will be the fourth criteria used to compile the deconfinement maps.

The information will come from a database which centralises all virological RT-PCR nasal swab tests carried out in France, whether in public or private, outpatient or hospital laboratories.

The rate of positivity of virological tests is now 1.9% of all people tested. 

The head of the respiratory infections and vaccination unit at the national health agency Santé publique France, Daniel Lévy-Bruhl, told Le Figaro: “We had no reliable indicator of the total number of cases” up until May 11 as screening strategies changed several times before that.

Since May 11, screening has been carried out systematically on people with symptoms, whereas previously the test was carried out only in serious cases or for people at risk.

The detailed results that will soon be available by department will provide a clearer picture of the spread of the virus from one area to another.

The data will be used to determine the green or red colour of a department. The colour of a department influences the rules for deconfinement with red departments having more restrictions than green departments.

Screening remains important to control the epidemic. President of the French union of general practitioners, MG France, Jacques Battistoni said: “We want both to measure the circulation of the virus in the population, but also above all to detect and find all the small outbreaks that are likely to reignite” in order to control and stop them as soon as possible. 

The Health Ministry’s website publishes data every day on the situation of Covid-19 in France and shows that 405,693 tests were carried out in laboratories, with 39,927 positive cases. However these numbers have not been updated since May 24.

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