Priority access for vaccination - France’s employment minister Elisabeth Borne has said this morning that she wants "priority access" to vaccination for binmen and bus drivers over 55 years old. The minister will receive employer and union organizations on Tuesday April 20th to take stock of the list of professionals with priority access to vaccination.
Currently in France the priority personnel over 55 years old authorized to be vaccinated against Covid-19 are: teachers, child minders, as well as national and municipal police, gendarmes and prison wardens.
Academy of Medicine calls for vaccine delay to be extended - France's Academy of Medicine has called for the delay between doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to be extended from six weeks to six months, in the case of the Pfizer and Moderna injections, in order to allow more people to get the first jab. In a statement the academy said that pushing the second injection back in the under-55 age bracket would "accelerate the vaccination campaign and achieve herd immunity much faster with the same number of doses, while ensuring satisfactory individual protection",
The academy has no decision-making power in France, unlike the High Authority for Health (HAS), which can make such recommendations with the backing of the government. Last week the delay between the first two doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, was extended from 4 to six weeks.
Incidence rate in Alpes Maritimes drops to below national average - After two months of restrictions in the Alpes Maritimes, the incidence rate for the region has fallen below the alert threshold, at 250. According to Public Health France, the incidence rate for the Alpes Maritimes stood at 229 on Sunday April 18th a figure that had not been reached in the region, since December 12th. The current rate also sees the region fall below the national average in France which stands at 352. At the height of the epidemic in the Alpes-Maritimes, the incidence rate was 642.
Meanwhile in the Var region the incidence rate stands at 348. Since mid-March, the incidence rate has been rising and falling in the Var without a major trend emerging.
In other news
Climate change - The French National Assembly has approved the creation of an "ecocide" offence as part of measures aimed at protecting the environment and tackling climate change. The ecocide measure was passed by 44 votes to 10 in France’s lower house of parliament and will, if it becomes law, apply to "the most serious cases of environmental damage at national level", said Environment Minister Barbara Pompili.
Pétanque in France has escaped a Covid ban by becoming an 'individual' sport. Playing pétanque, is now once more allowed under Covid-19 rules after its description was changed from being a team sport to an individual sport played in teams. The update was made by France’s ministry of sports in a decree published at the begining of April.