MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 03rd December, 2020) The French Health Ministry and local authorities in several of France's communes are getting ready to launch mass testing in northwestern and eastern central France to trace coronavirus cases, French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday.
On Tuesday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that experimental massive screening campaigns would be held in the coming weeks in three French areas for a better understanding of the COVID-19 virus circulation, as well as to identify the most vulnerable population groups and prevent the third outbreak of the pandemic.
"We are preparing with local authorities for massive screening operations in Le Havre, Saint-Etienne, and in a town in the Lille metropolitan area. Others will follow. Our objective: to identify the focal points of the #covid19, break the chains of contamination," Veran tweeted.
As the peak of the second COVID-19 wave in France is believed to have passed in November, the government has announced a three-stage coronavirus restriction easing strategy, starting last week. However, some limitations remain in effect to prevent the resumption of the pandemic. The second stage of the state relief plan is scheduled for December 15.
In the meantime, the authorities are also preparing for a nationwide vaccination campaign, in which the first phase is to be reserved for the most vulnerable citizens, given the limited number of doses. The first campaign is projected for later this month or early January.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said he expected the second phase of the vaccination to begin between April-June 2021.
As of Thursday, France has confirmed 2,275,677 COVID-19 infections and 167,915 recoveries. The death toll stands at 52,822.