Is France protecting itself enough from the “Brazilian” variant?
No, believe several doctors, worried that this strain "P1" or "20J / 501Y.V3" explodes in France as happened in Brazil, where the health situation is considered catastrophic.
It would be 40% to 120% more transmissible than the predominant one until the beginning of the year, much more than the British variant (between 36 and 75%), according to the first elements reported by Public Health France.
More worrying no doubt, they would escape "potentially" in part from the immunity, acquired following an infection or thanks to the vaccine.
Not to mention the 92 other variants identified in Brazil.
In the viewfinder of these scientists, the controls on arrival in France are considered too flexible.
Since January 31, all travel from a non-European country (except Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore) is subject to the presentation of a compelling reason .
Fourteen reasons are listed on the form that can be downloaded from the website of the Ministry of the Interior, such as having one's residence in France or working in the transport sector.
This document must be accompanied by a negative PCR test carried out "less than 72 hours before departure" and a sworn statement certifying that one is neither symptomatic nor case-contact.
A thousand arrivals per week?
The government regularly praises this hardened framework.
“We cannot prevent a French from returning to the national territory, and for the others you need a compelling reason and a PCR test, otherwise you will not get on board.
And if companies do not respect the rules, we suspend them ”, hammered this Sunday the Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, on RTL and LCI.
According to him, there would be today a thousand arrivals from Brazil per week, "mainly French", against 50,000 in normal times.
The Aéroports de Paris site, consulted this Monday morning, reports the arrival of two direct flights during the day at Roissy, one from Sao Paulo and the other from Rio de Janeiro.
▶ #Brazilian variant.
🗣 @CBeaune: "There are very few arrivals: usually you have nearly 50,000 people arriving from Brazil, we are at 1,000 a week today. We have been very serious about closing the borders".
📺 #LeGrandJury on # La26 cc @agindre.
- LCI (@LCI) April 11, 2021
This hardened device nevertheless still contains "holes in the racket," said Remi Salomon, president of the AP-HP establishment medical commission.
First, the rule of 72 hours for screening is not foolproof.
"If you contaminate yourself the day before or the day before departure, you will be in the midst of an incubation period, therefore asymptomatic and not detectable on the test", judges the pediatrician by profession.
“The 72 hours are the famous gray zone between the moment we are infected and the moment when we become positive”, adds Eric Billy.
“1,000 people a week, that would make 150 a day.
I do not see why we should not also screen them all on arrival ", estimates this researcher in immuno-oncology, adding that such a strategy should apply to" all the countries where variants circulate strongly ".
According to the Minister Delegate in charge of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, questioned on LCI this Monday morning, it would even be "50 per day".
Fortnight at a hotel in UK
Rémi Salomon pleads for his side for a truly binding fortnight, like what the United Kingdom applies.
Anyone arriving from one of the 28 countries placed on the “red list” must remain in quarantine for 10 days in a hotel.
The conditions are draconian and far removed from what is done in France.
Visits to and out of rooms are particularly prohibited (except in a few very limited cases, such as a court summons, funerals, etc.), while meals are provided by the establishment.
And if the rules are broken, the person risks a fine of 10,000 pounds, or nearly 12,000 €.
Upon arrival in France, all passengers must undertake to isolate themselves for a week upon arrival.
But once your foot is on the ground, this measure is not subject to checks by the authorities.
An even more radical solution would be to suspend all flights with Brazil, as Portugal did and France did with the United Kingdom for 48 hours at the end of December.
But maintaining lines "is imposed by law", justified Jean-Baptiste Djebbari.
▶ Why does France keep airlines open with # Brazil?
🗣 @Djebbari_JB: "Because it is imposed by law. It is 50 people per day who return to the territory, by means of a health protocol".
📺 Interview of @jmaphatie on # La26.
- LCI (@LCI) April 12, 2021
“Travel from abroad to France and from France to abroad, even when they are not formally prohibited, remain strictly discouraged until further notice.
Everyone's commitment and responsibility are necessary to limit the spread of the virus in France and in Europe ”, simply reminds a French diplomatic source.
5% of new cases in France: why the South African and Brazilian variants do not soar
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For the time being, the “Brazilian” and “South African” variants represent only 5% of the positive cases passed to “screening” in France (a mutation common to these two strains is tracked down).
According to the sequencing data obtained from the last “Flash” survey, “P1” even concerns only 0.5% of the interpretable sequences.
But that does not mean that it will also remain in the minority for the next few weeks.
“In this competition between variants, P1 does not spread massively when the British is predominant.
But he arrived in a country in the middle of summer, as did the South African.
So maybe it will increase here with the arrival of the summer season, ”imagines Eric Billy.