Public Policy

'Stay home', health workers plead with French public

The head of the public health authorities is urging the French to stay home and limit contact with others. The situation is deteriorating fast, he says, but there are simple ways to stop coronavirus COVID-19 from spreading further in France.

French health workers are urging people in France to stay home in order to contain the rapid transmission of coronavirus COVID-19
French health workers are urging people in France to stay home in order to contain the rapid transmission of coronavirus COVID-19 © LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

As it stands, there are 5,423 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in France, since 24 January, with 127 death and over 400 people in critical condition, according to official figures published on Sunday.

Jérôme Salomon, the head of the French public health authority, said that coronavirus is rapidly spreading in France with the number of cases doubling every three days.

He also says French people are not applying the basic recommendations given to them

“We can all carry the virus without being aware of it. So, we can easily transmit it if we do not respect the one metre minimum distance among each other, if we do not wash our hands carefully, and if we do not drastically reduce contact with others,” Salomon said.

“Yesterday, there were shocking reports showing large groups of people meeting outside. They do not seem to understand that they need stay home.”


Salomon added that France will not be able to slow down the rate of Covid-19 transmission if the French keep refusing to respect the rules.

The French hospitals already are in “great difficulty” and they must take care of people being admitted every hour.

“We could easily reach a stage where our hospitals will be saturated and unable to take new patients. This will be a disaster. This is why our health workers are urging people to stay home,” he added.

Salomon took the example of the town of Codogno in Italy where a lockdown proved to be successful as there were no new cases registered since.

As for the alarming figures of 300,000 to 500,000 COVID-19 related deaths reported in the media, Salomon said that these are projections presented by epidemiologists in a scenario where there are no measures to contain the epidemic.

Masks and gloves

Pharmacists and doctors voiced concerns because there are not enough face masks and gloves for them. Yet, they interact with an increasing number of people and fear they might be infected and help spread the virus.

The French government will put its stock of face masks and gloves at the disposal of health workers.

“Stealing masks make no sense as the transmission is essentially by hand,” Salomon explained.

Wearing gloves while touching potentially infected surfaces will make little difference.

Salomon said that people showing symptoms such as coughs, sore throat, headaches and other ENT related symptoms should stay home instead of “bravely” going to work.


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