Covid-19

Asking elderly to self-isolate is ‘very complicated’, French government says

A health worker speaks with an elderly woman at Beauregard's EHPAD (Establishment for the Housing of Elderly Dependant People) in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, southern Paris, on November 12, 2020.
A health worker speaks with an elderly woman at Beauregard's EHPAD (Establishment for the Housing of Elderly Dependant People) in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, southern Paris, on November 12, 2020. AFP - GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT
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Asking older people to self-isolate to protect themselves and help fight the wider Covid-19 pandemic – a proposal put forward by France’s Scientific Council yesterday – seems "very complicated", government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Friday.

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"We have to see what it corresponds to and if it is effective," he said on France 2, noting however that the efficacy of such a measure has yet to be shown. He also noted that there is "no country in the world that confines only one generation and not the others.”

Isolating the elderly

These people "are already the most confined people in the country, they already have reduced their interactions. In some cases, they have not seen their children, their grandchildren for a year. So, we have to see what additional steps mean: does it mean not going out shopping...no longer receiving home help? It seems very complicated," Attal said.

Members of the Scientific Council, which guides the government in its management of the epidemic, believe that we should no longer insist on confinement but opt for a "social contract" between generations where the oldest and most fragile would accept to be self-isolated.

Curfew maintained

Asked about the period during which the 6pm curfew will remain in force, Gabriel Attal said that the measure "has helped stabilise the health situation", that "it is important that it remains in place and continues to be respected".

He said that last week, more than 420,000 checks were carried out on individuals and 10,000 on establishments, giving rise to some 50,000 fines, an increase of 11 percent over the previous week.

The objective is to provoke a "decrease" in the epidemic, which while it hasn’t happened yet is still stable for the moment and “is not massive". But with "the vaccination that continues to be deployed", "we can hope that in the coming weeks and months, we can begin to ease the restrictions," he said.

 

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