In an opinion released Tuesday, the executive’s scientific council on the Covid-19 estimated that containment should continue for several more weeks.
The scientific council of the executive on the Covid-19 considered “essential to extend the confinement” in France, possibly up to “six weeks at least”, in a notice made public on Tuesday.
“The confinement will probably last at least six weeks from its establishment” on March 17, writes the Council, which also said “consider it necessary to strengthen the confinement”, without commenting on the exact terms. Leaving a meeting at the Elysee Palace, the Minister of Health Olivier Veran however insisted that the six-week duration mentioned was only an “estimate”.
“The scientific council expressed itself by giving an estimate, I’m talking about an estimate, because if you put the question to all the members of the scientific council, nobody is able to tell you with precision (… ) they said: we may need to prepare for confinement to last beyond 15 days (minimum duration initially announced, note), we know, but perhaps it could extend to again 5 or 6 weeks later, be very careful, “he added.
“If we have the possibility of lifting the containment earlier, we will obviously do it,” he insisted, reiterating that the Council’s opinion was “an estimate among others”.
“Containment is currently the only really operational strategy”
In their opinion, dated March 23, the members of the Council still believe that “containment is currently the only really operational strategy, the alternative of a policy of large-scale screening and isolation of detected persons not being for the time being achievable at the national level. Containment must be strictly implemented and benefit from the broad support of the population, as this seems to be the case. ”
Regarding its effectiveness, they also stress that “three weeks (…) are necessary to obtain a first estimate of its impact”.
An exit decision “may be taken on the basis of epidemiological indicators indicating in particular that the saturation of hospital services, and resuscitation services in particular, is controlled. The government will also have to ensure that the elements of a strategy post-containment are operational. The Scientific Council will soon issue an opinion on the containment exit strategy “.
The members also issue a “warning point” on “the real or perceived shortage of various types of equipment, starting with essential health protection equipment”.
They recommend that “the public authorities show full transparency and clarity, in order to answer the questions that hospitals and caregivers are asking about the existing stocks and how the services will be supplied”.