Coronavirus in France: Towards Longer Confinement, Death of Three Doctors

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Coronavirus in France: Towards Longer Confinement, Death of Three Doctors 1

How long will the containment of the population in France last? The government is preparing to extend travel restriction measures.

The government is preparing to extend the confinement of the population beyond the initial date of late March to counter the epidemic of coronavirus, which has killed at least 674 people in France, including three hospital doctors.

The extension is requested by the medical world under stress, after the first deaths of doctors, including a 67-year-old doctor in Compiègne (Oise), who died after taking care of the first patients with Covid-19.



Two new doctors have since died in the Grand Est.  These two doctors, originally from Haut-Rhin and Moselle and aged 66 and 60 years respectively, died Sunday of coronavirus contamination, indicated on Monday 23rd March 2020 the clinic and the mayor of the town where the two professionals were practising.

“Hundreds of positive caregivers”

“There are a few hundred caregivers in Île-de-France who are positive” at Covid-19, said Monday on France Inter Professor Philippe Juvin, head of the emergency department at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in Paris. “I think we are sufficiently protected in the hospital, but I am wondering about the caregivers in town,” added the doctor.


The government “has taken its responsibilities” and is not afraid to “render accounts” on its management of the coronavirus crisis before a parliamentary commission of inquiry, assured Monday its spokesman Sibeth Ndiaye while the executive is now doing faced with the start of an unpredictable trial on the part of political oppositions and part of the health community.



For the time being, the government is preparing to extend the period of confinement of the population beyond the initial date of the end of March. The Council of State, however, rejected the scenario of a “total containment”.

When will the peak arrive? “I have no visibility on this issue, and I don’t know if anyone has any,” replied Philippe Juvin, echoing words from the Minister of Health Olivier Véran this weekend.

Infectious disease specialist and former head of service at Pitié-Salpêtrière François Bricaire estimated on LCI that the peak could occur “within a week or so”.



“I am not persuaded that the confinement must be tightened”, he said, explaining that the “stay at home” was, according to him, “sufficient”.

Intensive care beds in a field hospital near the Emile-Muller hospital in Mulhouse, March 22, 2020
Intensive care beds in a field hospital near the Emile-Muller hospital in Mulhouse, March 22, 2020. (© AFP / PATRICK HERTZOG)

Read also: Coronavirus: the state of health emergency adopted, here is what will change for us

Announcements Tuesday? 

At the end of the first weekend of confinement, the scientific council created on the Covid-19 was to rule on Monday on this subject. The government will then make its decision but an extension already seems “likely”, said its spokesman Sibeth Ndiaye on Sunday on LCIAccording to Franceinfo , an announcement is excluded in the end on Monday, it should rather be Tuesday.

The president of the Scientific Council responsible for informing government decisions, Jean-François Delfraissy, has already estimated that the confinement would last “longer than announced”.
No Easter gatherings
Even before this decision, President Emmanuel Macron warned the representatives of religions, gathered by audio conference, that the religious holidays of April (Jewish and Christian Easter, beginning of Ramadan) must be “without gathering”.

Holy Week and Easter weekend for Christians fall from April 6 to 12, before Easter Monday on the 13. The Passover celebrations, the Jewish Passover, are scheduled from April 9 to 15 and Ramadan around the 24 April.

Read also: Containment: distribution of meals, shopping for neighbors … here’s how to help

No Easter gatherings

Even before this decision, President Emmanuel Macron warned the representatives of religions, gathered by audio conference, that the religious holidays of April (Jewish and Christian Easter, beginning of Ramadan) must be “without gathering”.

Holy Week and Easter weekend for Christians fall from April 6 to 12, before Easter Monday on the 13. The Passover celebrations, the Jewish Passover, are scheduled from April 9 to 15 and Ramadan around the 24 April.

Read also: Containment: distribution of meals, shopping for neighbours… here’s how to help

Hospital staff transporting a patient to Emile Muller hospital in Mulhouse, March 22, 2020
Hospital staff transporting a patient to Emile Muller hospital in Mulhouse, March 22, 2020. (© AFP / SEBASTIEN BOZON)

Curfew

Despite the rejection of the Council of State of “total containment”, some mayors have taken radical measures. In Drôme, Valence has been under curfew since Saturday evening, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., until March 31st.

The curfew is also in effect in Mulhouse, Perpignan, Charleville-Mézières (Ardennes) and on the entire coast of the Alpes-Maritimes.

“The situation will continue to get worse”

Between Saturday and Sunday, 112 additional deaths were recorded in hospitals, knowing that other deaths probably took place in the city or in nursing homes, announced Jérôme Salomon, director-general of health (DGS).

The number of hospitalized patients has reached 7240, of which 1746 are in intensive care (with around a third of these serious cases aged between 40 and 65 years).

“The situation will continue to worsen in the coming days before the effects of strict confinement slow down the epidemic,” launched the DGS, echoing President Macron’s remarks in the Sunday Journal: “The wave is here “.

The president of the Scientific Council responsible for informing government decisions, Jean-François Delfraissy, has already estimated that the confinement would last “longer than announced”.

The government, a third member ( Emmanuelle Wargon ) was “diagnosed” positive, was also ordered Sunday by the Council of State to review within 48 hours certain travel exemptions, especially for health reasons or for a sports practice.

Fines and prison

Containment monitoring has resulted in almost 1.8 million police checks. Of this figure, a total of 91,824 offences for non-compliance with restrictions have been noted since their implementation Tuesday, according to Alain Thirion, director general of civil security and crisis management.

As a consequence of this random compliance, the sanctions have been tightened: the 135 euros lump sum fine will thus increase to 1,500 euros in the event of a repeat “within 15 days” and “four violations within 30 days” may be worth “3,700 euros fine and up to six months in prison ”.

Banner hanging on a balcony in Bordeaux, March 16, 2020
Banner hanging on a balcony in Bordeaux, March 16, 2020. (© AFP / Archives / NICOLAS TUCAT)

Caregiver concern

In the Great East, patients are evacuated to the south of France but also to Germany and Switzerland. The army health service field hospital should be operational quickly in Mulhouse.

“The soldiers worked all weekend. We are almost there, ”according to the Ministry of Defense.

The transfer of patients from Corsica to hospitals in Marseille was completed “successfully” in the morning.

The president of the Ile-de-France region Valérie Pécresse has announced the order of 20 million protective masks, a quarter of which will arrive mid-week to “double the number of masks given to nursing staff in hospitals, to liberals, but also in nursing homes, humanitarian associations ”.

In hospitals, the death of the first doctor heightened the concern of caregivers about the shortage of protective equipment. And this despite the announcement this weekend of orders for more than 250 million masks. The current stock is around 86 million units, while the needs are estimated by Olivier Véran at “24 million masks per week”.

Priority will be given for the distribution of these masks to health personnel, in the city as well as in the hospital, and to people working with the elderly, according to Mr. Véran.

Read also: Coronavirus: masks, confinement, hospitalizations… how France manages the emergency

Saturation

Regarding the use of tests, reserved for certain categories of populations (frail, elderly, pregnant women, etc.), the government is gradually changing its doctrine and intends to be able to “multiply” the tests, but only at the time of “the lifting of containment “.

No immediate mass screening, as for example practised with apparent success in South Korea. Because there are simply not enough tests in France, according to the president of the scientific council, Jean-François Delfraissy.

In hospitals, saturation is spreading to certain very affected regions, such as in Alsace, from where the army has evacuated a dozen patients to other regions and is installing a field hospital in Mulhouse, which should be operational at the start of the week. .

Some patients have also been evacuated to Germany and Switzerland.

Free TGV

TGV and Intercités will be free throughout France for medical and paramedical staff responding to solidarity calls to strengthen hospitals.

The Federation of Commerce and Distribution (FCD) has announced that all healthcare staff will have priority access to most of the retail chains to get their supplies.

The Paris Stock Exchange, like other European places, opened sharply down (4.44%).

Airbus has cancelled the payment of dividends to its shareholders for 2019 as well as its forecast results for 2020, to mitigate the effect of the crisis on its cash. Other CAC 40 giants like Total and Vinci have warned that they will not be able to meet their 2020 targets.

The Minister of Public Accounts, Gérald Darmanin, said for his part that employees take paid leave during confinement so that they can work more once the epidemic is over.

The Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer indicated on Sud Radio that a possible failure to resume classes before the summer was “a possible scenario” even if it was “not the most likely”. He hopes to “keep the bin as planned”.

Clinical trial launched in Europe

Doctors and nursing staff beg the French to respect the confinement measures. “Staying at home is the only way to turn off the tap, thereby preventing people from contaminating each other,” implore 573 of them in a letter to President Emmanuel Macron released Monday by Le Parisien, also asking for “more communication explicit ”.

On the treatment side, a clinical trial was launched on Sunday in at least seven European countries to test four experimental treatments against the coronavirus. It will include a total of 3,200 patients, including 800 French.

Regarding chloroquine, one of these treatments tested, “we must very quickly know if it is effective and that we produce this product very massively now,” said Professor Philippe Juvin.

Many people crowded on Monday in front of the IHU Méditerranée Infection, a Marseille centre of expertise on infectious diseases, to be tested by the teams of Professor Didier Raoult who recommends this treatment with chloroquine.

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