The French are invited not to relax the effort and to spend at home the Easter holidays, which began this weekend, in order to guarantee containment and fight against the epidemic of coronavirus, which made more than 7,500 dead in the country.
The country, confined since March 17 to fight against the spread of the epidemic, recorded 441 additional deaths in the last 24 hours in the hospital, less than Friday when had been recorded the worst daily toll since the beginning of l epidemic (588 dead).
Taking into account the 2,028 deaths in nursing homes and other medico-social establishments, this brings to 7,560 the total death toll due to this virus.
Since Friday, the start of the school holidays in zone C which brings together the academies of Ile-de-France and Occitania, more than 160,000 police and gendarmes have been mobilized, and for the entire weekend, to enforce the measures containment.
“Departures on vacation, which were a little feared, are generally postponed to a later date,” noted Captain Sylvain Guilhon, who participated in the surveillance system of the gendarmerie around Bordeaux, by helicopter.
The few vacationers to have gone on the roads have been “taken care of by our comrades of the mobile gendarmerie as reinforcements in the sector, but overall it was well respected,” he told AFP.
To dissuade any inclination to go to the coast, tourist accommodation does not have the right to welcome the public in all the coastal towns of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, from Charente-Martime to Pyrénées-Atlantiques, until April 15.
143 municipalities are concerned – notably on the islands of Ré and Oléron, in the Landes, on the Basque coast – and all types of accommodation: guesthouses, tourist accommodation, hotels …
“The massive influx of people would favor contagion and could lead to strong tensions on the already mobilized health establishments, in particular on the resuscitation services”, warned the prefecture of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
– New evacuations –
On Saturday, more than 6,800 people were in intensive care. “Tonight, we have never had so many resuscitation patients”, underlined the general director of Health Jérôme Salomon, during his daily press briefing, even if there is indeed a gradual slowdown in admissions.
“The number of beds needed each day is a little lower than the previous day but we still have to welcome new patients all the time,” he said, urging us to be “very careful”. Especially since the management of the disease is long, often at least ten days.
The peak of the epidemic is approaching, he said, urging once again to be vigilant and not to “relax the effort”.
The Grand Est region, particularly affected, is finally hoping for a lull, with a peak reached “surely before April 25”, thanks in particular to the “effectiveness” of the containment measures, according to the director of the Regional Health Agency Christophe Lannelongue.
Faced with the risk of saturation of hospitals, particularly in the Grand Est and in Ile-de-France, evacuations continue towards the less affected regions. In total, according to the DGS, more than 550 patients in critical condition have been evacuated since March 18. Sunday, two health trains will evacuate patients from Ile-de-France to Brittany, the regional health agency announced on Saturday evening.
To shelter the homeless, more than 7,800 additional places were mobilized in hotels.
– Mandatory masks –
In terms of protective equipment, “there is a frantic search for equipment,” testified Frédéric Valletoux, president of the French Hospital Federation, on France Inter. “It is relaxing, we see that deliveries are coming, ordered by the State or the regions. (…) We will have to draw conclusions later on what happened”.
Concerning the debate on the wearing of masks, and contrary to the government assertions of the first weeks, the Academy of Medicine estimated Friday that wearing a “general public” or “alternative” mask to medical masks should be made compulsory for outings during the containment period and when it is lifted.
This flip-flop risks fueling public confusion and even accusations of lying. “The alternative mask can be a complement” but it “does not replace the measures of confidence and barrier gestures,” said Mr. Salomon in the evening.
France has ordered nearly two billion masks from China, said Health Minister Olivier Véran on Saturday. 500,000 masks will be delivered per day to the medico-social sector, he said, acknowledging that there were “logistical problems”.
He also stressed that people with disabilities “should receive the same care as the rest of the population”, recalling that “disability should not be a criterion for refusing care”.
While a race against the clock is underway to find a cure for the disease, several establishments including the AP-HP announced the launch next week of a clinical trial consisting in transfusing blood plasma from people recovered from Covid- 19 – containing antibodies directed against the virus – towards patients in acute phase. Such trials are already being carried out in the United States and in China.
In addition, an appeal by medical figures launched by the former Minister of Health Philippe Douste-Blazy, and signed by figures like Patrick Pelloux, called for urgent flexibility of the prescription possibilities for hydroxychloroquine, this treatment of which the use against the coronavirus is still debated in the scientific community.
This call was followed by a petition called “#NePerdonsPlusDeTemps”, which had already collected more than 142,000 supporters on the Change.org platform on Saturday evening.
burs-laf-may / rh / dlm