Public Policy Dynamics France #4
Health and Politics in France
|Total COVID-19 cases:||3,686.813|
|14-day total COVID-19 cases per 100,000:||398.29|
|Total COVID-19 deaths:||84,306|
- The bill on separatism is currently being examined by the French Parliament and has sparked debate between far-right political party leaders and the Government.
- Sensitive medical data of over 500,000 French patients, sometimes including their social security number, has been released on the internet. A reform on occupational health is being discussed by the Parliament.
- After two weeks of relative stability, the spread of the pandemic has started to increase in France. The Government is aiming for a regional approach to contain the virus and avoid at all costs a third national lockdown. Vaccination is continuing its course with new categories of the population now granted access to the vaccine.
- The Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was on 24 February invited to an interview with journalist and far-right polemicist Eric Zemmour (who has been condemned twice for incitement to hatred of Muslims). The interview focused on the bill against separatism, which is currently being examined by the Parliament. This bill aims to reinforce the “respect for the principles of the French Republic” by putting in place new measures to control religious associations and places of worship. With the next presidential elections taking place in 2022, this bill has become an opportunity for far-right political leaders such as Marine le Pen from the Front National party to back their claims of a French society put in danger by rampant Islamism.
- A file containing sensitive medical data of nearly 500,000 people in France is currently circulating on the Internet. The document includes the names of patients, together with contact details (postal address, telephone number, email) and a social security number. They are sometimes accompanied by information on blood group, the doctor treating the patient or the health insurance company, or comments on the patient's state of health (including possible pregnancy), drug treatments, or pathologies (notably HIV). The data comes from approximately thirty medical biology laboratories, mainly located in the north-western quarter of France. They correspond to samples taken between 2015 and October 2020, a period that, for the laboratories surveyed, coincides with the use of the same software for entering medico-administrative information published by the Dedalus group. This file was the subject of a commercial negotiation between several hackers on a Telegram group specialising in the exchange of stolen databases and one of them broadcast it on the web following a dispute.
- Following an agreement in December, MPs started working on an occupational health reform – a reform which has been on the agenda since 2017. The text was adopted in the first reading on 17 February in the National Assembly and is expected to be discussed at Senate level in the coming months.
- After the Government’s decision not to enforce a third lockdown and two weeks of “good” results (a stable infection rate), the health situation has degraded and healthcare services have been put under pressure by the new and more infectious variants of the Covid-19 virus. In his aim for a regional approach to control the epidemic, French President Emmanuel Macron and Minister for Health Olivier Véran announced that lock-downs would be put in place on weekends in Dunkirk, where the variant coming from Britain has sent up the numbers of Covid-19 infections. A total lock-down of the country is still however out of the question for the Government, which would rather take cumulative braking measures (6-pm curfew, lock-down on weekends).