Coronavirus: A Fourth Confirmed Case in France, the Repatriation Operation is Taking Shape

General News
The Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Pellegrin University Hospital in Bordeaux, January 27, 2020, where one of the patients infected with the coronavirus in France is hospitalised.

The fourth case of coronavirus was detected on Tuesday 28th January 2020 in France, announced the Director-General of Health, Jérôme Salomon.

A fourth person has been contaminated in France by the new Chinese coronavirus, announced this Tuesday 28th January 2020 the Director-General of Health, Jérôme Salomon.

Hospitalized in Paris, this Chinese tourist aged about 80 comes from the province of Hubei, the most affected in China, and is currently in intensive care, said the Director-General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, at a conference Press.

First severe case

An epidemiological investigation is launched, “in particular the search for his contact cases”, he added.

“We have no more information on its prior clinical state or its current development. It is a worrying clinical situation which requires continuous care, ”detailed the Director-General of Health, without specifying in which Parisian hospital the patient was treated.

It is the first time that a severe case of the new coronavirus has been detected in France. The state of health of the first three proven cases , announced Friday evening, does not raise “no major concern,” said Jerome Salomon on Monday.



These three cases are a 48-year-old man hospitalized in Bordeaux, and a 31-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman hospitalized in Paris.

The virus detection test, developed by the Pasteur Institute , is now available at the associated CNR (National Reference Center) in Lyon, said Jérôme Salomon on Tuesday.

250 French returnees 

At least 250 French people and more than 100 nationals of other European countries will be repatriated on two separate planes and “only healthy or asymptomatic citizens will be allowed to travel,” announced the European Commission.

A first plane will leave France on Wednesday morning, while the second will take off “later in the week”, added the European executive.

This scheme with two devices is still only an “option”, qualified Jérôme Salomon, stressing that the repatriation was “in the course of preparation”.

French Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn announced Tuesday morning that the first plane with a medical team on board would land “Thursday afternoon in Wuhan” and would be back in France “Friday evening, Friday night or Saturday morning”.

“Between 500 and 1000 French nationals” are potentially concerned but “not everyone wants to return,” she said.

“Several planes are going to follow one another” so as not to mix people possibly carrying the virus with healthy people, she said.

French health authorities have stressed the “exceptional” and even “unprecedented” nature of this French repatriation operation.

A family arrived from China, at Charles-de-Gaulle airport near Paris, on January 26, 2020.
A family arrived from China, at Charles-de-Gaulle airport near Paris, on January 26, 2020. (© AFP / Alain JOCARD)

“Justified” precautions

According to a military source, an Air Force A340, which usually provides troop transport or official travel, will be mobilized for this first repatriation of the French from Wuhan.

Once on French soil, returnees without symptoms will be grouped in a place where they will be under medical supervision for 14 days , the maximum estimated duration of incubation of the disease.

“We have identified a place of reception in the Paris region,” announced Agnès Buzyn, according to which it should “not be too far from hospitals” in case one of the people turns out to be sick. Returnees who already show symptoms will be hospitalized upon their return.

According to the Minister of Health, “the consulate on the spot” is in the process of identifying expatriates who want to return to France and those who want to stay.

“Some have families who are not necessarily French nationals, so you have to know if the families want to return if the Chinese government accepts,” she said, indicating that “all this is being discussed with the Chinese authorities ”.

Agnès Buzyn on January 26, 2020 in Paris
Agnès Buzyn on January 26, 2020 in Paris. (© AFP / Lucas BARIOULET)

Conditions that not everyone accepts

In addition, some French people are put off by “confinement” on arrival and “do not necessarily want to return to these conditions”.

“The measures are justified by the level of risk,” insisted Jérôme Salomon, however ensuring that this repatriation did not represent a risk of spread of the virus in France.

“We have set up a system” which “allows us to assure our compatriots that no one will be sick,” he said, describing as a “legitimate request” the wish of some of these nationals to return.

The official also announced that the authorities would “strengthen the surveillance of people who have recently returned” from risk areas, “who are contacted from today (Tuesday) for bi-daily monitoring in addition to the instructions that we gave them ”(monitor their temperature, their clinical signs, reduce their contacts and call 15“ if they have the slightest concern ”).

In China, the latest official report shows 132 dead, for nearly 6000 infected people, mainly around Wuhan. The epidemic, which has caused sixty cases in fifteen other countries, could reach its peak “in a week or 10 days”, according to a Chinese expert.

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