Jean Castex’s press conference on the health situation of March 4, 2021 will not have created a surprise: the government remains on its crest line which consists in finding a middle way between what must be done and what is accepted by the population and local elected officials. No drastic measures, therefore, and announcements at least.
Only Pas-de-Calais is added to the confined departments
If Nice and Dunkirk remain under bell on weekends, twenty departments have been in enhanced vigilance since February 25, 2021. For them, and particularly the Moselle, confinement at the weekend seemed to be coming soon… but it will not be. At least not for everyone.
Jean Castex announced that the Pas-de-Calais will be confined over the weekend and therefore becomes the only territory to be added to those targeted by drastic local measures, in particular because of its incidence rate higher than 400, that is to say almost twice the alert threshold set at 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Confinement at weekends leads to restrictive travel measures, the return of the certificate but also the closure of all non-food supermarkets. Unlike Nice or Dunkirk, where containment is targeted in certain areas or cities, Pas-de-Calais is confined throughout its territory.
New departments under surveillance
The Prime Minister also added three departments, Aisne, Aube and Hautes-Alpes, in the departments placed under reinforced surveillance. They are now 23 in number.
In these departments, new measures at least have been recorded: closure of non-food retail areas of more than 10,000 square meters (compared to 20,000 previously), wearing of the extended mask and possible ban from certain areas on weekends such as parks. But this last measure remains at the discretion of local elected officials and Prefects.
And then that’s all…
If Jean Castex added some recommendations, not mandatory, for the inhabitants of the departments under reinforced surveillance (and for the others), such as limiting contacts and asking not to leave the department if possible, the government does not add anything.
The announcements were therefore very limited, while many elected officials and specialists called for tightening the screws. A reluctance that could cost the government dearly: The WHO warned of an upward recovery in the number of cases in Europe on March 4, 2021 over a week. However, the number of cases had been falling steadily for several weeks, which raises concerns about the start of a third wave.