The French public health agency, Santé Publique France (SPF), has expressed concerns about the recent increase in COVID-19 cases across the country. The latest epidemiological data shows a rise in the COVID-19 incidence rate by 24% compared to the previous week, with the eastern part of France being the most affected region. These rising cases can be attributed to changing weather conditions and concerns about new variants. However, public health officials are urging the public to remain vigilant, follow safety measures, and undergo increased testing to accurately assess the extent of the resurgence. France remains cautiously optimistic that proactive measures can contain the spread and prevent a full-scale return of the pandemic.
According to the latest figures, the COVID-19 incidence rate in France for the week of November 13 to 19 stands at 27.96 per 100,000 inhabitants, showing a significant increase from the previous week. It’s important to note, however, that this rate is still considerably lower than during the peak of the pandemic. The reliability of the data is also affected by lower testing rates and the exclusion of lateral flow tests conducted in pharmacies.
The eastern part of France, particularly regions like Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Moselle, Meuse, Haute-Marne, and Côte-d’Or, is currently experiencing the highest incidence rates. Bas-Rhin, in particular, has the highest rate at 111.54 per 100,000 inhabitants. Even regions with lower rates have seen a rise in cases, indicating a widespread trend.
Experts believe that the resurgence in cases can be attributed to the changing weather conditions. Colder temperatures create an environment that is more favorable for the circulation of the virus. Additionally, concerns have been raised about new variants, specifically the BA.2.86 (Pirola) variant and its substrain JN.1, both of which are subvariants of the Omicron variant. France is the second country in Europe where the BA.2.86 variant is increasing in circulation.
Despite these developments, SPF’s risk analysis does not indicate an immediate cause for concern regarding public health associated with these new variants. However, ongoing monitoring and swift responses will be crucial as the situation continues to evolve. It is important for the public to remain vigilant and adhere to safety measures. Increased testing will also play a vital role in accurately assessing the true extent of the resurgence.
As France prepares for the potential impact of rising cases, public health officials stress the importance of vigilance, adherence to safety measures, and increased testing. By taking these proactive measures, France hopes to curb the spread of the virus and prevent a full-scale return of the pandemic.