Malo-les-Bains, May 16, 2020. Report in Malo for the first weekend of reopening of the beaches of the North after the deconfinement. – M.Libert / 20 Minutes

  • With an incidence rate of 901 / 100,000 inhabitants, the agglomeration of Dunkirk is very affected by Covid-19 and its English variant.
  • To avoid a re-containment that seems inevitable, the mayors of the urban community want to give themselves one last chance.

The debates were lively and opinions diverged. Gathered by video conference this Tuesday morning, the mayors of the urban community of Dunkirk (CUD) argued for over an hour before agreeing on a majority position. Territory very affected by the British variant, Dunkirk has an incidence rate of 901 / 100,000 inhabitants. Worrisome figures, higher than those of the Alpes-Maritimes already reconfigured the next two weekends, which have not yet led to a reconfinement on the northern coast.

While Olivier Véran will move this Wednesday in the corsair city, the elected officials want to give themselves a last chance to avoid the worst by proposing a solution to the Minister of Health. “We are going to ask the government to put in place four major measures over a fortnight: continue massive screening, accelerate and improve visibility on the number of people vaccinated in the city, introduce the obligation to wear a mask throughout the CUD and finally launch a major prevention campaign so that there is no family, sporting or cultural gathering ”, explains Bertrand Ringot, mayor (PS) of Gravelines and 2nd vice-president of the CUD.

A very difficult situation

A last hope that could be quickly showered by reality. Because the intensive care unit of the Dunkirk hospital center is saturated, patients have already been transferred to other hospitals in the region and the incidence rate has only skyrocketed for several days. A blackboard that already makes some elected officials fatalistic.

“The majority of mayors are not in favor of it, but I am personally looking for a re-containment of the CUD. I know that the inhabitants are exasperated, but all the parameters are met for there to be strong measures. I think we’ve already lost a lot of time. We had already been the source of proposals to the government ten days ago by proposing to close high schools and colleges and a request for exemption for schools. But we were not heard ”, regrets Martial Beyaert, mayor (PS) of Grande-Synthe and 6th vice-president of the CUD.

The state singled out for its lack of action

Faced with the situation, Dunkirk’s elected officials do not want to be accused of laxity. It has even been two weeks that they sound the alarm in the face of the worsening health situation in the territory. Without obtaining strong measures from the government.

“We felt a little abandoned and forgotten by the state. We challenged them, we emphasized the specificity of the Dunkirk situation. Ten days ago, the incidence rate was already 658 / 100,000 and the penetration rate of the English variant was over 70%. We had parameters that worried us with a saturated hospital and exhausted hospital workers. Centralization means that the State sometimes has a little trouble listening to the territories. I can only regret it, ”laments the mayor of Grande-Synthe.

A declining positivity rate in Gravelines

In a territory where almost everyone now knows someone positive for Covid-19, we still cling to some positive signs. For example at Gravelines, the positivity rate is decreasing. “We were 7.16% positive on February 19, while we exceeded 10% a week earlier,” says Bertrand Ringot, the mayor of the city.

Remains the most complicated to avoid re-containment: convince the inhabitants not to meet during a period of school holidays at spring temperatures. “We know that people are exasperated, that they need to get some fresh air. We know that the days are getting longer, that the weather is more and more beautiful. No one wants to be re-defined. But hey, faced with the urgency of the situation, we must hold a speech of truth, ”concludes Martial Beyaert, an elected official who no longer has many illusions about the restrictions that should be announced this Wednesday by the government.

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