Professor Karine Lacombe, head of the infectious diseases department at the Saint-Antoine hospital in Paris, has said she expects to see an increase in Covid-19 cases over the festive period and says a new lockdown in January should not be ruled out.
“The virus is not under control. Despite the efforts of the last two months with the curfew and the confinement, we have not managed to break the dynamic of the epidemic as we wanted,” she told BFM TV in an interview today, December 23.
She said that young people who pick up the virus at school or others participating in secret parties are spreading it among their families at home.
She ruled out the idea of closing schools though, saying they are indispensable.
She did not clarify how she knows that these categories of people are the ones spreading the virus within families, but said that was what she had seen from her work in the hospital.
Her comments come as the mayors of Reims and Nancy call on the government to establish a new confinement, regional or national, from December 25 or 26.
Between December 12 to December 18, the Grand-Est region has recorded an incidence rate of Covid-19 cases (the number of people testing positive per 100,000) of 223. Much of the rest of the country has an average of 139.
“Let's take advantage of this school holiday period just after Christmas and until the start of the new school year to reconfine and allow a return to almost-normal life at the start of the new school year,” Reims mayor Arnaud Robinet told Franceinfo.
"Let's let the French have Christmas with their families and then introduce another lockdown from December 25 or 26 until the start of the new school year, i.e. January 3 or 4,” he said.
When asked about this, Prof Lacombe said that the situation in the Grand-Est is “very complicated” and that “what is sure is that lockdown is the most effective strategy” to prevent the spread of the virus.
She said that another lockdown should remain an option for the government adding that with the current health situation it will be difficult to reopen restaurants and cafes on January 20 as is currently planned.