France crosses the threshold of a thousand people infected with the coronavirus
More than a thousand cases and 19 deaths due to the new coronavirus: Emmanuel Macron met Sunday evening at the Elysee Palace a Defense Council while the country is the second most affected in Europe, after Italy whose north has been placed in quarantine.
With 366 deaths and more than 7,375 confirmed cases (1,492 more than on Saturday) Italy has decided to quarantine a large area ranging from Milan, the economic capital, to Venice, a highly tourist city. An unprecedented measure in Europe which causes the country to confine 15 million people, or a quarter of its population.
In France, the fifth most affected country in the world, the bar of 1,000 confirmed cases was crossed on Sunday, according to the latest official report from Public Health France, reporting 1,126 people infected with Covid-19 since the start of the epidemic and 19 deaths.
Faced with the exceptional situation, the Head of State convenes a Defense Council on Sunday evening, which will be followed by a press conference by the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran and Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health. “We have to reassure and protect,” explains those around Mr. Macron.
The country is preparing for the transition to stage 3 of the state of alert, “inexorable” according to Mr. Macron and which should occur in the coming days.
Unlike stage 2, stage 3, that of the epidemic, no longer aims to stop the spread but to mitigate the consequences.
– White plan ready –
This stage provides for the suspension of certain joint transport, the closing of schools in all or part of the territory, the restriction of gatherings and the mobilization of all the care sectors: hospitals, liberal health professionals and care and home help.
For healthcare establishments, on the front line in the fight against the coronavirus, it is a question of being ready for the triggering of the “white plan”.
Level 1 has already been engaged in order to put “all the hospitals under tension to plan” the rapid implementation of the “essential means in the event of an influx” of patients, according to Jerome Salomon.
A “white plan” had been launched on February 25 in the hospitals of Creil and Compiègne, in Oise. A “blue plan”, the counterpart for the Ehpad, will be activated to anticipate the increase in staff and prevent the isolation of residents.
“The elderly are the most vulnerable to the virus and must be protected,” said the Directorate General of Health, recommending that children under the age of 15 should not visit them.
In Haut-Rhin and Oise, two of the most affected departments, all schools and nurseries will be closed from Monday, for at least two weeks.
The measure announced by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will affect 165,000 students in the Oise and 127,000 in the Haut-Rhin. Concretely, teachers and students will use distance education to ensure continuity of lessons.
In total, 300,000 students will be affected by the closure of schools, from kindergarten to high school.
In Corsica, all schools in Ajaccio will be closed for two weeks, the prefecture announced at the end of the day.
– Cancellations –
In addition, the authorities are multiplying the cancellations of events which were to attract several thousand people, such as the Mondial du tattoo originally planned for March 13 to 15 in Paris.
Several sporting events have also been postponed this weekend, including the Ligue 1 Strasbourg-PSG football match scheduled for Saturday, or the women's rugby match between Scotland and France in the Six Nations tournament.
A decree, however, reduced Saturday the ban on closed gatherings of more than 5,000 people in France to April 15, against May 31 previously.
The deputy LREM of Haute-Garonne Elisabeth Toutut-Picard, hospitalized following her contamination with the coronavirus, left the hospital but must remain “confined for fourteen days at her home”. For his part, the second deputy suffering from Covid-19 Jean-Luc Reitzer (Haut-Rhin) “is still in intensive care but his condition is stable”, according to his entourage.
Since the appearance of the new coronavirus in December, 107,021 cases of infection have been officially recorded in 99 countries and territories, causing the death of 3,648 people worldwide, according to a report established by AFP from official sources on Sunday towards 11:00 GMT.