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03.08.2021 Europe

Guadeloupe re-enters lockdown as Covid-19 creates "catastrophic situation"

By David Coffey with RFI
AFP - YANNICK MONDELO
LISTEN AUG 3, 2021
AFP - YANNICK MONDELO

The French overseas territory of Guadeloupe will be locked down for a period of at least three weeks from 8pm Wednesday, as the island faces a "catastrophic situation" due to a spike in Covid-19 cases. 

The Caribbean archipelago follows measures taken on the neighbouring territory of Martinique, which has been confined for three weeks since last Friday evening.

According to Valérie Denux, director general of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Guadeloupe, the territory is in a "catastrophic situation", with cases exceeding 3,000 per week.

Meanwhile, prefect Alexandre Rochatte added: "We have entered an extremely difficult phase," referring to "essential measures when we see what is happening over the weekend, when the curfew has been reinstated".

Restrictions on beach activities

From this Wednesday evening, a curfew will be imposed from 8pm until 5am. 

Movement will be restricted during the day, with people obliged to stay within a 10km perimeter around their home and a certificate will be required to prove the necessity of outdoor activity. 

Although shops will remain open, as well as restaurants at midday, bars will all be closed along with gyms, stadiums and swimming pools.

Beach picnics and taking sound systems on boats for parties will also be prohibited.

On the beaches, only "dynamic" activities will be allowed, such as walks, swimming or individual sports activities.

On the other hand, a so-called "static" presence will be prohibited.

The prefect insisted that "all August events should be cancelled or postponed, particularly the patronal festivals", which are very popular in Guadeloupe.

Covid incidence rate at record high

Valérie Denux pointed out that the number of cases of Covid-19 had multiplied more than tenfold in 3 weeks. 

"The incidence rate is 828 per 100,000 inhabitants. We have never reached this rate in Guadeloupe," she insisted.

She also indicated that none of the 22 patients currently in the Covid intensive care unit on the island had been vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the Indian Ocean island of Reunion also returned to a partial daytime lockdown for a fortnight at the weekend, reinforced by a strict curfew from 6pm to 5am.

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