Masses Cancelled, Holidays at Home… Towards an Easter Weekend Under Confinement

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A cleaning agent disinfects a bus at the depot in Saint-Etienne, on April 8, 2020. (© AFP / JEFF PACHOUD)

France is preparing for an extension of the confinement beyond April 15th, while the human toll continues to worsen with nearly 11,000 dead.

At the start of a long Easter weekend, cancelled for believers, deprived of gatherings by the epidemic of coronavirus, France is preparing Thursday 9th April 2020 for an extension of the confinement beyond April 15th, while The human toll continues to worsen with nearly 11,000 deaths.

Started on March 17th and already extended once, the confinement will continue after next Tuesday, warned the Elysee, without specifying the duration of the new extension.

Read also: Covid-19: the confinement will be extended beyond April 15, announces the Elysée

This will be one of the subjects of Emmanuel Macron’s speech Monday evening to the French, to present his decisions concerning the fight against the epidemic in the coming weeks across France.

No masses

On this “Holy Thursday”, in France and around the world, believers are therefore preparing for Easter celebrations under confinement, deprived of masses and large meetings for this highlight of their spiritual and family life. The celebrations of the sanctuary of Lourdes, without pilgrims, will be broadcast on Catholic channels.

And in the absence of family banquets, thousands of Easter lambs will escape the slaughterhouse this year. But what saves their lives endangers that of their farmers: “We throw away the strawberries or the asparagus, but our animals, what are we going to do with them?” “, Worries Michelle Baudouin, a breeder in Puy-de-Dôme and president of the National Sheep Federation.

Examination of a patient in a medical cell dedicated to Covid-19, at Saint-Roch hospital in Montpellier, April 8, 2020.
Examination of a patient in a medical cell dedicated to Covid-19, at Saint-Roch hospital in Montpellier, April 8, 2020. (© AFP / Pascal GUYOT)

“Save lives”

Spring break and good weather, require, new travel restrictions are now in effect in Paris and in five other Ile-de-France departments. Any individual sporting activity is prohibited from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Similar restrictions will apply from the weekend in Alsace, a very affected region where school holidays begin Thursday evening for two weeks.

“Save lives, avoid human tragedies, please stay at home!” “, Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon repeated again on Wednesday.

7,148 patients in intensive care 

France recorded on Wednesday a new very heavy daily toll in hospitals, with 541 additional deaths in 24 hours, a total of 7632 since early March. In addition, 3,237 deaths have already been recorded in nursing homes and medico-social establishments (which could not update their statistics on Wednesday due to a “technical problem”), for a total of 10,869 deaths.

In hospitals, 7,148 seriously ill patients are in intensive care, “an absolute record in France”, a sign that the epidemic “is still very active”, noted Jérôme Salomon.

In the emergency department of the Mulhouse hospital, “the drop already perceptible last week was confirmed”, however, notes their leader, Dr Marc Noizet. “The service is always saturated”, but “we no longer need 15 transfers per day like last week”.

New patient evacuations

In Ile-de-France, in order to relieve a hospital system still in very high tension with more than 2,600 people in intensive care, new patient evacuations will take place on Friday towards Aquitaine.

Monday, the head of state should also address the economic and social situation. The epidemic, which has shut down a good part of the country’s activities, has already precipitated France into a historic recession.

The Banque de France estimated on Wednesday that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) had collapsed by 6% during the period from January to March, the worst quarterly performance since 1945.

“The impact will be considerable, it is still far too early to appreciate it” totally, warned Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

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