A week of an unprecedented kind opens on Monday for the French, deprived of most public places and invited to telecommute while looking after their children while awaiting possible even more radical measures, such as general confinement, to try to stop the epidemic.
Faced with his fellow citizens deemed “unruly” as to the measures of “social distancing”, President Emmanuel Macron must decide the heavy question of a possible compulsory confinement of the entire population. And this for a long time, as already decided by Italy or Spain.
The government has already urged the French on Sunday to comply with the instructions to curb the spread of the coronavirus after an unprecedented increase in deaths and contaminations in the country.
Contrary to a widely held idea up to now, “serious forms are reported in adults without previous pathologies” and not only “in elderly or frail people”, warns the Directorate General of Health.
According to a statement published Sunday evening by the national public health agency, Santé Publique France, the balance sheet of the epidemic climbed Sunday to 127 dead and 5,423 confirmed cases, that is to say 36 dead and more than 900 additional cases in 24 hours. More than 400 people are hospitalized in serious condition.
A first death related to the coronavirus was recorded in Overseas: it is about an 86 year old woman, deceased in Martinique.
Among the personalities, the president of the Republicans (LR), Christian Jacob, was tested positive and confined to home.
This is the largest daily increase in cases and deaths since the appearance of the virus in France, which officially entered Saturday in stage 3 of the epidemic.
⏳ Follow the evolution of the crisis live on Monday, March 16.
1:52 p.m. – Sanofi and Regeneron begin clinical trial on potential treatment
The French laboratory Sanofi and the American Regeneron have started a clinical trial to evaluate their drug Kevzara in the treatment of patients hospitalized with a severe form of the new coronavirus, they announced Monday.
A phase 2/3 clinical study has started in the United States, and patient recruitment will begin immediately, according to a joint statement. Regeneron will conduct the test in the United States, while Sanofi will be in charge of future tests in the rest of the world, notably in Italy.
Kevzara (sarilumab) is an immunosuppressant developed jointly by Sanofi with Regeneron, launched in 2017 to treat rheumatoid arthritis. It is a monoclonal antibody against the receptor for interleukin-6 (IL-6), a protein in the immune system that plays a role in the inflammatory process.
IL-6 could play a role in the inflammatory response of the lungs of patients severely affected by Covid-19, specify the two laboratories.
1:31 p.m. – IMF calls for more budget support
Governments must take more budgetary measures and stay in touch to prevent the health crisis from lastingly affecting the economy, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said on Monday.
The IMF is ready to mobilize its 1,000 billion dollars in financing capacity to help its 189 member states, she warned.
“As the virus spreads, the need for a global budget support plan appears extremely urgent,” she said.
According to the IMF, an action plan of a magnitude similar to what was decided in 2008-2009 may be necessary.
In 2009, the G20 countries put on the table about 2% of gross domestic product, or nearly $ 900 million in adjusted data. “So there is still a lot of work to do,” said Kristalina Georgieva.
On the monetary policy front, central banks should continue to support demand and build confidence by easing financial conditions while ensuring that the flow of credit to the real economy does not dry up, a- she added.
13:16 – Brent loses 10%, the lowest since early 2016
Brent crude plunged more than 10% on Monday, reaching a four-year low, swept away by the imbalance caused by the abundant supply of black gold and demand, which is slowing down due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
Around 11:55 GMT (12:55 GMT in Paris), a barrel of Brent North Sea crude for May delivery fell to 30.22 dollars in London, down 10.66% from Friday's close, a low level. no longer seen since February 2016.
In New York, the American barrel of WTI for April fell 8.04% to 29.18 dollars, still above its last low reached last Monday at 27.34 dollars.
Oil prices closed their worst week since the 2008 financial crisis on Friday, losing around 25%.
“Brent oil is now threatening to drop below $ 30,” said Oanda analyst Craig Erlam.
“Supply and demand are taking an opposite direction as rarely seen before,” said Bjarne Schieldrop, analyst at SEB, a phenomenon which is exerting very strong pressure on the prices of the two reference barrels.
1:10 pm – La Poste maintains its “essential” activities
The Post maintains its activities “essential to the population” in the face of the spread of the coronavirus, she announced Monday, most of the factors ensuring the distribution of mail while certain post offices remain open to the public.
La Poste “maintains (…) the continuity of its essential activities for the population, with absolute respect for the health of its employees and customers,” the public group said in a press release.
The government ordered this weekend the closure of public places that are not considered essential, including in particular restaurants and cafes, faced with the spread of the coronavirus.
“But the activities essential to the life of the country continue”, underlines the Post which specifies that 80% of the factors ensure the distribution of the mail.
In terms of postal sorting, the situation is usual because “the industrial apparatus of the Post office functions normally”, she specified.
On the other hand, the reception of the public is clearly restricted even if it continues to be assured: of the 17,000 “contact points” of the group, “1,000 post offices will (…) be open this Monday from 11:00 am” , it is indicated, without specifying the geographical distribution.
“Depending on the evolution of the health situation and the absenteeism of the teams, adjustments will be made from day to day and the terms of operational continuity will be communicated as soon as possible,” concludes La Poste.
12.56 p.m. – PSA to close all its production sites in France
The automaker PSA will close in the coming days its production sites in France, starting with that of Mulhouse, AFP learned from several union sources on Monday.
“The management has announced the closure of all its industrial sites in the coming days, starting with that of Mulhouse this afternoon,” Franck Don of the CFTC PSA told AFP. “The other industrial sites will follow. The CFDT had pushed management to make this decision, especially in view of the wind of panic which is shaking employees,” said Christine Virassamy, CFDT central delegate at PSA.
12.21pm – Imminent measures on the EU's external borders
Measures at the external borders of the European Union will be announced “in the coming hours,” said the Elysee on Monday after a telephone interview between Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen, devoted to the coronavirus epidemic.
The French head of state met in the morning with the German Chancellor, the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission on the eve of a European Council to be held by videoconference Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Emmanuel Macron “condemned the unilateral unilateral border measures taken by a number of EU member states during this morning's conference call and reaffirmed the need for a demanding, rapid and coordinated decision-making process” , said a source at the Elysée.
“This morning's conference call enabled action to be taken at the external borders of the European Union which will be finalized and announced in the coming hours,” she added.
12:04 pm – Marine Le Pen confined to her home “as a precaution”
Marine Le Pen confined herself to her home “as a precaution” and canceled a radio program on Tuesday, after having attended Christian Jacob, who tested positive for coronavirus, and other people showing symptoms of the disease.
The president of the National Gathering, however, presents “no symptoms” of the coronavirus. She “self-confined after sitting for several hours last week next to Christian Jacob”, president of LR, who tested positive for Covid-19, said the entourage of Ms. Le Pen, confirming a BFMTV information.
The President of the Republicans has tested positive for Covid-19 and is therefore subject to containment measures. The head of the RN, who has crisscrossed France in recent weeks for the municipal elections, and who claimed to meet about 3,000 people per week, “also has people around him who present symptoms” of the coronavirus, added the same source .
11.37 am – French tour operators postpone all scheduled departures until March 31
French tour operators announced Monday the postponement of all departures scheduled until March 31 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and say they process requests for early return for travelers already on site “on a case-by-case basis”.
This decision was taken “in front of the impossibility of ensuring the services at destination and the uncertainty of the returns”, indicate in a joint press release the Seto (syndicate of tour operators) and the Travel Companies (travel agencies).
11:14 am – The new coronavirus has killed at least 6,501 people worldwide
The new coronavirus has killed at least 6,501 people worldwide since its appearance in December, according to a report established by AFP from official sources Monday at 9:00 GMT. More than 168,250 cases of infection have been counted in 142 countries and territories since the start of the epidemic. This number of diagnosed cases, however, reflects reality only imperfectly, as countries have more or less restrictive accounting policies and criteria.
Since the count made the day before at 5:00 p.m. GMT, 81 new deaths and 4,317 new cases have been recorded worldwide. China (excluding the territories of Hong Kong and Macao), where the epidemic broke out at the end of December, has recorded a total of 80,860 cases, including 3,213 deaths and 67,490 cures. 16 new cases and 14 new deaths were announced between Sunday and Monday.
Elsewhere in the world, there were Monday at 9:00 GMT a total of 3.288 deaths (67 new) for 87.396 cases (4301 new). The most affected countries after China are Italy with 1,809 deaths for 24,747 cases, Iran with 724 deaths (13,983 cases), Spain with 288 deaths (7,753 cases), and France with 127 deaths (5,423 cases) ).
Since Sunday at 5:00 p.m. GMT, Bahrain, Hungary, Guatemala and Luxembourg have announced the first deaths linked to the virus on their soil. Trinidad and Tobago has announced the diagnosis of the first cases. Asia totaled Monday at 09:00 GMT 92,195 cases (3,337 deaths), Europe 55,176 cases (2,335 deaths), the Middle East 15,358 cases (739 deaths), the United States and Canada 4,087 cases (70 deaths), Latin America and the Caribbean 711 cases (7 deaths), Africa 371 cases (8 deaths) and Oceania 358 cases (5 deaths).
This assessment was carried out using data collected by AFP offices from the competent national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO).
11:00 – Renault ready to adapt its activity in the coming days
Renault is working on different scenarios to adapt in the coming days the organization of the work of its factories to the absenteeism rates caused by the coronavirus epidemic and by the safety instructions to deal with it, a spokesperson told Reuters on Monday word of the group in the rhombus.
“Renault is adapting its means of production to the measures taken by the authorities to guarantee the safety of its employees and to cope with planned absenteeism at industrial sites,” she said.
“The group's factories work on different work organizations to ensure business continuity.”
Among these scenarios are a drop in speed, a reduction in the number of teams or a greater use of temporary workers, said the spokeswoman.
To date, however, the French factories of the diamond group continue their activity as planned, with the exception of the Flins site (Yvelines), which was shutdown following a lack of supply from a European supplier who is not not related to coronavirus.
10.51 am – Macron speaks Monday at 8 p.m. on television
Emmanuel Macron will speak on Monday at 8:00 p.m. on television about the new measures to fight the growing coronavirus epidemic, said the Elysee. In this declaration from his office at the Elysée Palace, the Head of State should announce the measures which will be decided during a lunch with the members of the Defense Council, said the Elysée Palace.
He could mention in particular possible containment measures, on which the French are wondering, while the balance sheet of the epidemic climbed Sunday to 127 dead and 5,423 confirmed cases in France. Emmanuel Macron must also decide whether or not to maintain the second round of the municipal elections.
The head of state took the floor Thursday evening to announce the closure of schools and explain to the French the seriousness of the health crisis.
10.05 am – Pompidou's emergency chief “sees the wave coming”
The coronavirus epidemic is causing “an influx of patients” in hospitals, where certain resuscitation services “are already overwhelmed,” said Professor Philippe Juvin, chief of emergency at the Parisian Georges-Pompidou hospital, who recommends confinement.
Opinion of heavy weather in health facilities: “Some are completely overwhelmed, others are loading, but we see the wave coming,” said Professor Juvin on LCI.
In the Haut-Rhin, where the epidemic spread earlier than elsewhere, “resuscitation capacities are exceeded” in Mulhouse, while Colmar hospital suffers from “equipment shortages”, he said. he assures.
In the Paris region, “we have witnessed a doubling of the number of patients hospitalized in intensive care (…) in three days,” he added.
Emergencies are confronted with “an influx of patients who disorganize them” and this engorgement “creates chaos in medical services”.
“Currently all patients who need resuscitation go to resuscitation”, but hospital capacities are limited, hence the need to “spread the wave”, he stressed.
According to him, to achieve this, “there are not ten solutions, there is only one (…) it is necessary to confine the population”.
9:55 a.m. – The government specifies which businesses can open
Large stores, food businesses, pharmacies, newsagents, funeral directors or banks are among the businesses that may open as part of the containment measures decided against the coronavirus by the government, details an order published Monday in the Official Journal.
French businesses can “continue to receive the public for the activities listed in the appendix to this decree”, says the text.
The government orders since Sunday the closing of the “not essential” places, in particular restaurants and bars, but a vagueness remained on the businesses authorized to open. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe spoke on Saturday of food stores, pharmacies, banks, tobacconists and petrol stations.
All these activities are listed in the decree published on Monday, as well as large areas of various sizes, mini-markets, supermarkets and hypermarkets.
In addition, there are resellers of automobile and two-wheel equipment, suppliers of farmers and their equipment suppliers, sellers and repairers of computers or telephones. Laundries and funeral services are also open.
On another level, places of worship, such as churches, will remain open but cannot accommodate more than 20 people, except in the case of burials for which no limit is given.
9:44 am – Air France-KLM plans to reduce its offer by “70 to 90%” for two months
The Air France-KLM group will reduce its activity from 70% to 90% in the next two months at least, due to travel restrictions and the drop in demand in the face of the spread of the coronavirus, according to a statement on Monday.
The group's offer in seat kilometers offered, a measure of the calculation of the number of seats offered on an airline, “could drop between -70% and -90%”, according to the group's press release which programmed this reduction “for a duration of 2 months “. Air France-KLM “will continue to follow the evolution of the context on a daily basis to make it evolve if necessary”.
At the opening of the Paris Stock Exchange, the share of Air France-KLM fell by more than 17%.
Air France will notably immobilize “its entire Airbus 380 fleet” and KLM “its entire Boeing 747 fleet”
9:39 am – Macron meets on Monday for a “Defense Council format” lunch
Emmanuel Macron will meet this Monday at noon a new defense council to take stock of the situation and potentially discuss new measures to deal with the rapid spread of the coronavirus in France, it was said Monday at the Elysée Palace.
The French head of state will gather around a lunch at the Elysée the ministers of Health, the Economy, Defense, Interior and Justice, we said from the same source .
At this stage, no new containment measure has been taken since the announcement on Saturday evening of the closure of non-essential bars, cafes and shops but the Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire hinted on Sunday that new initiatives could be taken if necessary.
The Head of State was also scheduled to meet at 10:00 am with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the Council Charles Michel to discuss possible enhanced control at the European borders, before the videoconference. G7 leaders at 3 p.m. (1 p.m. GMT).
9:29 a.m. – No food shortage in France, insists the Minister of Agriculture
There is no food shortage in France faced with the spread of the coronavirus, said Monday the Minister of Agriculture, Didier Guillaume, calling on the French not to empty the shelves by making excessive reserves.
“There will be no problem in supplying food,” said Guillaume on the CNEWS channel, in line with comments made the day before by Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy.
The latter had assured that food businesses and supermarkets would keep most of their references on the shelves, but called on the French to behave “responsibly” without “rushing to the shelves”.
“There is no shortage,” insisted Mr. Guillaume, while food businesses remain open in contrast to multiple public places forced to close, including cafes and restaurants, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Perhaps some product lines will not all be there,” nuanced the minister. “If you want to buy spaghetti, you may not have the full range of spaghetti, not all brands, not all sizes of spaghetti.”
9:22 am – Michelin stops its factories in Spain, France and Italy for a week
The French tire group Michelin has decided to interrupt the production of its factories for a week in Spain, France and Italy because of the coronavirus, a spokesperson announced on Monday morning.
It is a question of respecting “the hygiene and containment measures put in place in these countries”, explained this spokesman to AFP, specifying that this decision was valid for the moment “until Sunday 22 March”.
9:18 am – The Paris Bourse plunges at opening (-5.62%) to 3,886.82 points
The Paris Bourse plunged again at the opening Monday (-5.62%), panic continuing to seize the financial markets after several actions of central banks, including the Fed, faced with the spread of the coronavirus.
At 9:00 a.m. (8:00 a.m. GMT), the CAC 40 index fell from 231.54 points to 3,886.82 points. Friday, he had finished a cataclysmic week, where he lost 20.03%, by a meager technical rebound (+ 1.83%).
8:53 am – The entry into force of the new unemployment insurance rules postponed to September 1
The entry into force of new rules in application of the unemployment insurance reform, initially scheduled for April 1, will be postponed to September 1 due to the epidemic of new coronavirus in France, announced Monday the Minister of Labor , Muriel Pénicaud.
Because of the “exceptional situation” in which France finds itself, “the rules which were to change on April 1 (within the framework of the unemployment insurance reform-Editor's note) no longer change on April 1 and are postponed to April 1 September, “she said on BFMTV and RMC on Monday.
Muriel Pénicaud said that a decree would be published within 48 hours on this subject.
Among the aspects of the reform that were supposed to come into effect on April 1 is a controversial new unemployment benefit rule.
Muriel Pénicaud: “The President and the Prime Minister the situation hour by hour” pic.twitter.com/jOTUv5XKdT
– BFMTV (@BFMTV) March 16, 2020
8:40 a.m. – Recession expected in the EU in 2020
The economy of the European Union (EU) will be in recession this year, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said on Monday.
“We obviously anticipate a recession in 2020,” he said on BFM Business.
“Before the crisis we were around 1.4% (growth in gross domestic product -PIB-NDLR) across the continent and there we think we will have an impact (negative-Editor's note) between 2% and 2.5%, “he added.
8:36 am – Interview between Macron, Merkel and European leaders on the borders
The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, will meet at 10:00 (09:00 GMT) by telephone with the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the Presidency of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, at subject of the coronavirus crisis, we learned Monday from a source close to the Elysee.
Their discussions will focus on the issue of borders, it was said.
8:22 am – Government denies preparing “containment decree”
French government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye denied on Monday that a decree enjoining the French on confinement was being considered in an attempt to slow the progression of the coronavirus in France.
– France Inter (@franceinter) March 16, 2020
“This story of decree was a 'fake news' I can tell you, the fact remains that we will examine all the measures that can be useful to ensure that in-depth changes in behavior are made,” he said. she declared on France inter.
Sources had mentioned this hypothesis on Sunday.
8:00 am – The Director General of Health calls on the French to better respect the instructions
The Director General of Health Jérôme Salomon launched on Monday a call for the general mobilization of the French to better respect the barrier measures in order to slow the progression of the epidemic of coronavirus on the territory.
“We all have a major role to play against the epidemic and we can all act as a barrier (…) by respecting the instructions (…) of barrier measures that the French know but that they are not yet applying sufficiently “, he declared on France inter on Monday. “This weak adherence (to the guidelines) means that we cannot stop the kinetics of the epidemic”, he stressed, recalling that “we can all carry the virus without knowing it (…) we are all potentially transmitters.
“With the children, we can go out, but we should not come together to do collective games on a lawn.”
Listen to Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health in # le79Inter https://t.co/Vxot4QiS4V# covid_19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/T8ftO5vdKu
– France Inter (@franceinter) March 16, 2020
Consequence: the situation of the epidemic in France is today according to him “very worrying, it is deteriorating very quickly. It is a very rapid epidemic and we see that the number of cases now doubles every three days.” Failure to respect the measures of one meter distance, massive reduction in contact – to be limited to a few people per day, confinement and regular hand washing, the situation in hospitals could worsen, he said. warned.
“It is clear that today hospitals (…) are really having great difficulty taking care of patients who arrive every day, every hour,” he said. “This morning, I appeal for the general mobilization of all French people. It would be catastrophic to have to manage to sort people (…) in intensive care because there is no room,” added Jérôme Salomon .
5:10 am – Public places closed in New York and Los Angeles
The mayors of New York and Los Angeles, the two largest cities in the United States, announced Sunday that they were ordering the closure of restaurants, bars, theaters and cinemas in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has contaminated nearly 3,000 people and caused 65 deaths in the country.
Any restaurant, brasserie or cafe selling food will only be able to do so in take-out or delivery, the authorities of the two cities said.
“This is not a decision I take lightly,” said New York mayor Bill de Blasio in a statement.
“The virus can spread quickly with the close interactions New Yorkers have in restaurants, bars and places where we congregate. We must break this cycle,” he said. “Our city is facing an unprecedented threat, and we must respond with a war mentality.”
© All Rights Reserved Coronavirus: France is in “economic immunodeficiency”
2:00 am – China reports 16 additional cases and 14 deaths
Sixteen new cases of coronavirus contamination were confirmed on Sunday in mainland China, health officials said, who also reported 14 more deaths linked to the epidemic that started in Hubei province last December.
The toll of the epidemic in mainland China now stands at 80,860 cases of infection and 3,213 deaths.
All of the deaths reported on Sunday occurred in Hubei province, home of the epidemic.
1h57 – The Fed lowers its rates to zero, a strong gesture to try to reassure
The U.S. Central Bank brutally cut rates to zero on Sunday, as President Donald Trump has been calling for months, to counter a decline in growth in the second quarter and reassure the markets in the face of the ravages of the new coronavirus epidemic.
At the same time, the Fed was participating in concerted action to ensure that the world did not run out of dollars on Monday.
The decision to lower rates by one percentage point, to bring them back into a range between 0 and 0.25%, was announced Sunday evening by the US Federal Reserve.
0h41 – First death linked to coronavirus in the Overseas Territories, in Martinique
A first death related to the coronavirus was recorded in Overseas: it is about an 86 year old woman, deceased in Martinique, one learned Sunday at the Regional health agency (ARS). “An 86-year-old patient hospitalized for suspected influenza who was found to be infected with the coronavirus, died in intensive care today”, announced the director general of the ARS of Martinique, Jérôme Viguier. It is the first death linked to Covid-19 in Martinique and more broadly in Overseas.
“This is a turning point for Martinique in the face of this epidemic of coronavirus. The methods of contamination are being confirmed. The investigation of all the contact persons is in progress. For the time being 50 people who have been in contact have been identified, “he added.
Martinique currently has 14 people carrying the coronavirus, including one person hospitalized in intensive care. 845 people were placed in containment, notably from two Costa cruise ships which transported contaminated passengers.
(with AFP and Reuters)