Guadeloupe is latest French island to lock down amid ‘catastrophic’ COVID situation

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Guadeloupe is the latest French island to announce a partial COVID lockdown, as authorities describe the health situation as “catastrophic”.

The partial lockdown will come into effect on Wednesday and last at least three weeks. Shops will remain open, as will restaurants but only for the midday service. Bars, gyms, stadiums and swimming pools will be closed.

It also includes a nighttime curfew running from 20h to 5h and daytime travel restrictions with people asked to justify any travel beyond a 10km radius away from their residence.

“We are in a catastrophic situation, we have exceeded 3,000 cases per week,” Valérie Denux, director-general of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Guadeloupe, told reporters.

More than 3,100 new infections were recorded last week on the island of 395,700 inhabitants — nearly triple the amount registered the week prior and more than ten times the amount observed two weeks ago.

The incidence rate now stands at 828.6 cases per 100,000, up from 287.1 per 100,000 the previous week.

In a statement on Sunday, the prefecture said that none of the 44 patients in ICU or of the 15 people admitted to hospital on the day were vaccinated.

The measure comes just days after partial lockdowns were also imposed on the islands of Martinique and La Réunion.

The ARS of Martinique said earlier this week that the fourth wave currently impacting France has “violently” hit the island with the seven-day incidence rate reaching 1,025 cases per 100,000 on Sunday.

“This situation causes the saturation of hospital capacities,” it added. Three ICU patients have had to be sent to mainland France because of a lack of beds.

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Nearly 40 soldiers from the army’s health service and medical regiment arrived in Martinique on Tuesday to help the University Hospital Centre increased its ICU capacity. A further 10 are expected before the end of the week.

On La Réunion, the incidence rate has shot up from 306.4 infections per 100,000 two weeks ago to 353.1 cases per 100,000 last week.

French overseas territories have low vaccination rates with just 27.7% of Guadeloupe residents over the age of 18 having received at least one dose of the vaccine by July 28. In Martinique, only 16.14% of the population is fully vaccinated, while on La Réunion, 30.2% of the population is now fully inoculated.

Across the whole of France, 77% of adults have received at least one dose and 66% have been administered a full vaccination course.

The number of hospitalised COVID patients in France has slowly been increasing throughout July, reaching 7,840 on Monday — 761 more than a week ago. COVID patients in ICU now total 1,232 vs 952 a week ago.

The death toll rose by 51 on Monday to 111,997 — the tenth highest in the world, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

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