Coronavirus: Authorities Want a Strict Containment Weekend in France

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Strict enforcement of coronavirus containment and confinement this weekend in France

Many public places will be closed during the first weekend of containment, while the Coronavirus Covid-19 has already killed 450 people in France.

First spring weekend under tension: the French authorities are determined on Saturday 21st March 2020 to enforce the confinement imposed to curb the coronavirus epidemic which has already killed 450 people in the country, deeming it insufficiently respected.

Tighter restrictions

The restrictions decreed to stem the spread of the new coronavirus will be applied “even more strictly”, warned the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner, with controls in the stations (only 15% of the main lines will circulate) and the airports. Fixed fines of 135 euros will be drawn up in the event of “violation of the prohibitions on moving outside one’s home”.

Persons already fined for unjustified exits were thus placed in police custody for “endangering the life of others”.

The Sentinel operation to fight terrorism will “ramp up” as part of the fight against the coronavirus, Castaner also said on Friday.

Iconic location closings

It is out of the question to review the scenes of the previous weekend, with the crowds in the pedestrian streets, parks, forests. Already, the closings of emblematic places have multiplied, from the quays of the Seine in Paris to the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, where a curfew will be imposed in the very next days, according to the entourage of the mayor.

“Do not go on weekends,” insisted Friday the Director-General of Health, Jérôme Salomon. While the epidemic weighs heavily on health services, “you may unknowingly transport the virus from large cities to the countryside” or arrive “in an area where there is not necessarily health infrastructure able to take care of a lot of patients ”.

Towards an extension of containment

The extension of the confinement, decreed until the end of March, “has not been acted on”, according to Christophe Castaner. But everything suggests that it will be sooner or later, as in Italy, which records the most deaths in the world (more than 4000, ahead of China).

The confinement may cease “when the virus no longer circulates,” said Olivier Véran, the Minister of Health, estimating the number of patients in France at 20,000. The majority of them are not tested, therefore not detected

The epidemic had caused the death of 450 patients on Friday (78 additional in 24 hours) and led to the hospitalization of 5226 patients, including nearly 1300 in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health. Nearly 1,600 patients left hospitals, cured.

“Half of the intensive care patients are under 60 years old,” said Jérôme Salomon, who warned, echoing the World Health Organization, that the epidemic also affects “young adults”.

A gendarme controls a motorist, in Pleurtuit (Ille-et-Vilaine), on March 20, 2020.
A gendarme controls a motorist, in Pleurtuit (Ille-et-Vilaine), on March 20, 2020. (© AFP / Damien MEYER)

“We are waiting for the wave”

The Nouvelle-Aquitaine region becomes the seventh most affected region – after Grand Est, Corsica, Île-de-France, Hauts-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Auvergne-Rhône Alpes.

“Faced with the urgency and the scale of the epidemic”, particularly in Île-de-France, the Paris hospitals (AP-HP) are making an urgent appeal to “medical and paramedical professionals available in the coming weeks to strengthen the teams of its 39 hospitals. ”

“We are waiting for the wave of serious patients in the hope that it will not be a tsunami,” wrote Dr Laurent Thines, a neurologist at the Besançon University Hospital in Mediapart.

« Anosmie »

In addition to the imminent establishment of a military hospital near Mulhouse (Haut-Rhin), the French navy will evacuate patients from Corsica this weekend to the mainland.

Professor Salomon for his part spoke of “a resurgence of cases of anosmia”, reported by ENT specialists in connection with the virus. It is a “sudden disappearance of smell without nasal obstruction and which can occur in isolation”, which requires calling your doctor to avoid self-medication.

On the sensitive subject of masks, allocated in priority to caregivers but which many professions in contact with the public claim, the government has recognized “logistical difficulties”. A group of personalities, including epidemiologist Catherine Hill, calls on the government to “organize the production of masks” and to “test and isolate the contaminated people”.

Towards a state of health emergency

The Parliament definitively adopted the financial part of the emergency measures against the coronavirus on Friday, but the debates dragged on in the Assembly on the other text allowing the establishment of a state of health emergency, postponing its adoption until the weekend. end.

Combined with the emergency bill passed at first reading in the Senate and which will be examined on Saturday by the National Assembly, the text provides 45 billion euros to help businesses in difficulty and to finance partial unemployment of employees.

The Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire called on companies to pay a tax-free bonus to their employees, especially those who “had the courage to go to their place of work” in essential sectors.

Coronavirus Covid-19 in France
Coronavirus Covid-19 in France (© AFP /)

“Aperitif at the windows”

France is also working to organize the return of approximately 130,000 nationals stranded abroad, generally for holidays.

After the now traditional applause that resounds at 8 p.m. all over France to thank the nursing staff, French people organized an aperitif at their windows to “fight the routine” of isolation.

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