The main information at midday
- The Omicron variant currently concerns the majority of deaths occurring in hospital with Covid-19, indicates the Drees.
- According to National Education figures as of Thursday, 21,049 classes out of 527,200 in France are currently closed due to Covid.
- The Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer receives the teachers’ unions this Friday to discuss the possibility of postponing the baccalaureate specialty tests for final year students which are to be held from March 14 to 16.
- The French economy, whose growth stood at 7% of GDP in 2021 according to INSEE, experienced a “spectacular rebound” which “erases the economic crisis” linked to Covid-19, welcomed the minister. of Economy Bruno Le Maire.
- The Moroccan government has decided to reopen the airspace from February 7 to flights to and from the country, after more than two months of closure.
12:35 p.m .: The number of PIMS in sharp increase
Public Health France, in its latest epidemiological update, notes a very marked increase in the number of cases of PIMS, cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome, during these first three weeks of 2022. These disorders occur on average 4 to 5 weeks after coronavirus infection.
Between March 2, 2020 and January 23, 2022, 932 cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndromes, including 849 related to Covid, were reported by pediatricians.
12:32 p.m .: “We feared the worst in the intensive care units, we did not see it”
“We feared the worst in the intensive care units, we did not see it”, underlined this Friday, on France 2, Jean-Michel Constantin, head of the intensive care unit of the Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris.
11:28 a.m .: Omicron responsible for the majority of deaths of Covid-positive patients in hospital
According to the latest figures from Drees, the Omicron variant currently concerns the majority of deaths occurring in hospital with Covid-19. In detail, between January 17 and 23, the Institute for Statistical Studies indicates that the Omicron variant represents 99% of positive PCR tests, 88% of conventional hospital admissions, 79% of critical care admissions and 57% of deaths that occurred in hospital with Covid-19.
“Hospitalization durations appear, at this stage, to be somewhat shorter for the Omicron variant compared to the Delta variant, but these estimates may still be revised in the coming weeks as more full stays have been observed”, specifies the Drees.
10:41 am: More than 21,000 classes currently closed
According to the latest figures from National Education, 21,049 classes out of 527,200 in France are currently closed.
572,012 students (out of 12,223,000) tested positive this week in France.
10:33 a.m .: Blanquer receives the teacher unions for a possible postponement of the specialty tests
The Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer receives the teachers’ unions this Friday to discuss the possibility of postponing the baccalaureate specialty tests for final year students which are to be held from March 14 to 16.
10:09 am: The Philippines will reopen borders to vaccinated tourists
The Philippines will reopen its borders to vaccinated tourists and lift the quarantine requirement from February 10. The move is intended to provide a breath of fresh air to the Philippines’ tourism sector, devastated by nearly two years of border closures and restricted travel within the country to combat the pandemic.
10:01 am: Spanish growth reached 5% in 2021
Economic growth rebounded to 5% last year in Spain after a fall in GDP in 2020 but this figure remains well below the government’s target, according to an initial estimate published on Friday.
9:47 a.m.: “Let’s stop testing, isolating and tracing, let’s continue the vaccination effort”
“The face of the epidemic is changing, let’s change the paradigm,” asks Karine Lacombe, head of the infectious diseases department at Saint-Antoine hospital on Twitter. “Let’s stop testing, isolating and tracing, let’s continue the vaccination effort, let’s treat the most fragile,” she suggests.
9:44 am: The reopening of Moroccan airspace is “good news”, according to Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne
The French Minister Delegate in charge of Tourism and SMEs, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne welcomed this Friday the reopening of Morocco’s airspace after two months of closure. “This is good news for French travel companies because Morocco is traditionally in the top three destinations when the French choose to go abroad,” Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne told Franceinfo TV.
8:26 a.m .: The president of the Union of Medical Biologists calls for “less but better screening”
We have to test less, but better,” Lionel Barrand, president of the National Union of Medical Biologists, told Franceinfo on Friday. He believes that Covid-19 screening tests are too important at the moment in France.
8:04 am: The “spectacular rebound” in growth in 2021 “erases the economic crisis”
The French economy, whose growth stood at 7% of GDP in 2021 according to INSEE, experienced a “spectacular rebound” which “erases the economic crisis” linked to Covid-19, welcomed Bruno Le Mayor. “In the fourth quarter, the French economy exceeded the wealth it had in 2019 and returned to its pre-crisis level”, declared the Minister of Economy and Finance on France 2. After a record plunge in the GDP in 2020 (-8%), “the French economy is running at full speed and it has a strong reaction capacity”, he assured.
7:34 am: End of the curfew in New Delhi
The capital of India announced on Thursday an easing of restrictions linked to Covid-19 and the end of the curfew imposed on weekends since the beginning of January, after a slowdown in positive cases in the country.
6:41 am: Hong Kong eases its quarantines
Hong Kong has announced that the mandatory hotel quarantine for travelers from overseas, one of the longest in the world, will be reduced from three to two weeks from February 5.
6:32 am: Morocco reopens its airspace from February 7
The Moroccan government has decided to reopen the airspace from February 7 to flights to and from the country, after more than two months of closure, according to a statement released Thursday evening by the MAP agency. In addition, Morocco has launched the construction of an anti-Covid vaccine manufacturing plant, which should start production next July and ensure the kingdom’s vaccine self-sufficiency, the Moroccan press agency also indicated.
6:15 am: Lifting of restrictions in England
In the United Kingdom, England on Thursday abandoned almost all of the last restrictions in force against Covid-19, with which, the government hopes, the population will get used to living as they do with the flu.
This wind of freedom aimed at replacing legal obligations with “advice or recommendations” is timely for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, more than ever weakened by the scandal of parties organized in Downing Street in defiance of health rules.
6:04 am: Sweden: no general vaccination for 5-11 year olds
Sweden has chosen not to recommend the vaccination of 5-11 year olds against Covid-19, except for children at risk.
5:50 am: Catalonia will do without a health pass
The Spanish region of Catalonia has decided to end from this Friday the obligation to present a health pass to enter bars, restaurants and sports halls. “A significant part of the population is again likely to be infected with the virus”, because of the Omicron variant, “regardless of their vaccination status or the fact of having already contracted the disease”, justified the regional government which thus follows the advice of its committee of experts.
Moderna has begun trials of a specific vaccine booster against Omicron
The American company Moderna has begun clinical trials of a booster dose of a vaccine designed specifically against the Omicron variant. More information in our article.
5:47 am: Nearly 400,000 contaminations on Thursday, hospitalizations still on the rise
The virus is still circulating widely, with 392,168 new contaminations. Over the past seven days, the daily average is more than 360,000 cases. A spread due to the Omicron variant, much more contagious than its predecessors, but causing less severe forms. This is reflected in particular by shorter passages to the hospital and less frequent admissions to intensive care.
As in recent days, the number of hospitalizations increased and critical care admissions fell on Thursday. 30,982 Covid patients were hospitalized, compared to 30,624 on Wednesday. Among these hospitalized patients, 3,694 were cared for in critical care services, against 3,712 on Wednesday.
5:46 am: More than 130,000 dead in France since the start of the epidemic
The threshold of 130,000 deaths linked to Covid-19 was crossed Thursday in France, less than two years after the start of the epidemic, according to figures from Public Health France. 273 Covid-19 patients died Thursday in hospital, retirement homes or other medico-social establishments.
What to remember from Thursday
- The European Medicines Agency (EMA) said on Thursday it had approved Pfizer’s anti-Covid pill.
- Nearly 11 million Covid-19 screening tests were carried out last week, confirming the slight decline observed since the start of the school year in January. The peak of tests has passed: with 10.65 million PCR and antigen screenings validated between January 17 and 23, against 11.32 million the previous week.
- A fourth dose of anti-Covid vaccine is not justified at this stage, judges the Vaccine Strategy Guidance Council, which may however review its position if the scientific data evolves.
- Gilles Pialoux, head of the infectious diseases department at the Tenon hospital in Paris, declared on LCI that “the school is the blind spot of health policy in France”. “Viral circulation among students has been denied. It’s a mess compared to screenings.
- Emmanuel Macron announced that the overseas territories will receive the Novavax vaccine as a priority, without messenger RNA, which may be a response to the resistance to vaccination which affects certain departments.
- Sweden has chosen not to recommend vaccination of 5-11 year olds.
5:45 a.m .: Hello everyone and welcome to this live broadcast devoted to the news of the Covid-19 pandemic in France and around the world.