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Covid-19: a "very serious" situation in the French Antilles

Covid-19: a “very serious” situation in the French Antilles

The health situation in the French West Indies, where vaccination is low and the COVID-19 epidemic is experiencing an unprecedented outbreak, said on Tuesday the Minister for Overseas Sebastien Licornu, who began “a visit there on Tuesday,” is “extremely serious”. “.

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In Martinique, authorities announced on Monday a strict containment with the closure of non-essential businesses, seasonal rentals and hotels as well as beaches, and called on tourists to leave the island. Travel is limited to a maximum of one kilometer around the house.

“The situation is very serious,” the minister told AFP before leaving for the West Indies. “These are incidence rates that we have not known before in all regions of the republic combined,” he added, taking into account the possibility of reinforcing containment in Guadeloupe, located in the far north.

France Press agency

“It is logical that we will have to tighten the curbs because there is an urgent need,” the minister said on Tuesday evening in Guadeloupe. He will travel to Martinique on Thursday, where he will be joined by Health Minister Olivier Veran.

In Martinique, only 22% of the population received the first dose of vaccines. By way of comparison, at the national level, Olivier Veran declared that 80% of adults had been “primary vaccinated”.

Martinique’s infection rate rose from 410 cases on July 6 to 4,171 cases in the first week of August and 35 deaths. Within four weeks, 350 people were hospitalized. The delta variant accounts for 40% of the pollution.

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In neighboring Guadeloupe, the numbers are also exploding (14 deaths between August 2 and 8), the delta variant accounting for 88% of the pollution. Here, too, vaccination coverage is much lower than in France, and less than 20% of the population receives two injections there.

Gérard Cotillon, general manager of the CHU unit in Pointe-a-Pitre, told AFP that the walls had to be “pushed” to install new patients. “I have recruited extensively, but it is not enough,” he said wistfully.

Caregivers were sent to reinforce them from the capital – 240 caregivers are scheduled to travel from Paris on Tuesday to the two islands – and in early August, the first evacuations of patients to hospitals in France were carried out.