Coronavirus: Government Prepares for Stage 3 of the Epidemic

General News
Emmanuel Macron and the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran (G), visit the Operational Center for Regulation and Response to Health and Social Emergencies in Paris on Tuesday March 3, 2019.

With 285 confirmed cases and four deaths, France is one of the countries most affected by the coronavirus.

Thirty researchers at the Elysée around Emmanuel Macron, ministers facing representatives of local elected officials: the executive continues to display its mobilization against the new coronavirus, which is approaching stage 3 of the epidemic.

It seems “unfortunately unlikely” that France will escape stage 3 (the last), according to government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye. “We are actively preparing for an epidemic,” she said.

In case of passage to stage 3, that where one notes that the virus circulates and that it is transmissible on the whole of the territory, “the collective activities are strongly impacted”, specifies the government on the site

Faced with a concern or even “psychosis”, the senators called on Wednesday the government to communicate with pedagogy, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran assuring that the choice that is made is that of “transparency”.

285 confirmed cases

285 confirmed cases were listed Wednesday on the territory (73 more than the day before), including 15 in serious condition are hospitalized in intensive care, said the director-general of health, Jérôme Salomon, during the daily press point. Four people died.

Thursday afternoon, Emmanuel Macron will bring together the main players in public and private research engaged in the fight against the Covid-19 disease.

The country still remains in stage 2, that during which the authorities are “doing everything to curb the spread of the virus,” said Véran, after a special defence council at the Elysee Palace.

Restrictions reviewed

For the time being, the collective restrictions decided last weekend have not changed, and gatherings of more than 5,000 people in confined spaces remain notably prohibited.

These measures will be “re-examined” in the event of transition to stage 3. But even in this case, “the country will not stop functioning purely and simply,” insisted Ms. Ndiaye. “The metros will continue to run until further notice, public transport will continue to run until further notice … life in the country will not stop because of the coronavirus.”

No municipal postponement

The postponement of the municipal elections (March 15-22) is therefore not on the agenda.

But new cancellations are announced as a precaution, such as MIPTV, the second largest world event dedicated to television professionals, scheduled from March 30th to April 2nd in Cannes, due to the “uncertainty linked” to the coronavirus.

The concern of the French seems to have dropped a notch, according to an Elabe poll for BFMTV: 52% do not say they are worried, or 5 points more than a week ago.

Faced with a mild virus in 80% of cases but very contagious, they mostly fear various public places, with public transport in mind.

Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye (c) and Minister of Health Olivier Véran (g) during a press briefing at the Elysée on the coronavirus, on March 4, 2020 in Paris.
Government spokesperson Sibeth Ndiaye (c) and Minister of Health Olivier Véran (g) during a press briefing at the Elysée on the coronavirus, on March 4, 2020 in Paris. (© POOL / AFP / CHARLES PLATIAU)

No shortage of masks

The population rushes on the masks and hydroalcoholic gels whose selling prices have soared. Those of gels will now be framed by decree.

A decree was also published Wednesday to requisition the stocks of masks until May 31. “There is no risk of shortage,” assured Ms. Ndiaye, recalling that the masks are only distributed on medical prescription or to health professionals.

Just a week ago, France only had twelve cases, mainly related to patients who passed through China.

The country is now one of the main centres of coronavirus in Europe, along with Italy and Germany. Thirteen regions are affected, including Guyana for the first time, with five proven cases (including three teachers and hospital staff), all from an evangelical gathering in Mulhouse. The prefect announced the closure of ten classes in Saint-Laurent-du-Maroni, in the overseas department, where these teachers work.

10 new cases in the Haut-Rhin

In the Haut-Rhin, around ten people are infected and have been hospitalized, following this evangelical gathering, which had brought together 2,000 people two weeks ago.

In Val-d’Oise, the mayor of Louvres decided, at the request of the prefect, to close a school group due to the contamination of a student and a parent who participated in the life of the school.

The main foci of grouped cases remain the Oise (99 cases), the commune of La Balme in Haute-Savoie (30) and Morbihan (14).

A “good hundred” of schools, colleges and high schools remain closed in France, mainly in the Oise (35,000 students affected) and the Morbihan (9,000). A CM1 class was closed in Marseille, for the first time in the PACA region.

The Louvre reopened

Closed since Sunday due to the right of withdrawal invoked by its staff, the Louvre museum reopened on Wednesday afternoon, to the cheers of tourists

For its part, the Paris Opera, the largest opera house in the world in terms of capacity, called on visitors “presenting with flu-like symptoms” to avoid its two halls, Bastille and Garnier.

In terms of sport, L1 football matches are not subject to any particular restrictions, any more than the Top 14 rugby championship. But in the United Arab Emirates, two French cycling teams (Cofidis and Groupama-FDJ) have been placed in quarantine.

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