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France puts itself in battle order

Prepare, without worrying; reassure, without minimizing. The health authorities are definitely walking a thread with the new coronavirus … The virus seems to have definitely escaped the cordon cordon erected around China. Exit, the cases straight imported from the cradle of the epidemic. In Asia, South Korea sees the number of confirmed cases increase exponentially (they were barely 200 Friday, here they are more than 600) and more distant countries, like Italy (152 confirmed cases) or Iran (43 cases including 8 dead) must face local homes.

What about France? “Other cases are very likely. An epidemic? We are preparing for it ”, said Minister of Health Olivier Véran on Sunday Parisian. He said during a press briefing that there were no new cases in France, which therefore remains at 12 cases, including 1 dead and 4 healed. “We know that we must prepare for a circulation of the virus on the national territory: the globe is a small village and the threat may present itself at our doors”, said the Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon, at Sunday newspaper. Prime Minister Édouard Philippe took stock of the situation on Sunday afternoon with the Ministers of Health Olivier Véran, of the Armies Florence Parly, of the Interior Christophe Castaner and of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebarri.

The authorities are mobilizing to deal with any eventuality. On Friday, the Ministry of Health reissued a methodological guide to “Covid-19 epidemic risk preparation” intended for health, medico-social establishments and city doctors. “The risk of spread (…) is currently considered low if the“ confirmed ”cases are detected early and if adequate control measures are put in place immediately”, indicates the document. For now, all cases must be taken care of “In authorized health establishments”, But “All health facilities” are instructed to prepare and Centers 15 must be able to handle tripling the number of calls. The deployment of diagnostic tests throughout the territory “Is being finalized”. Finally, “The probability of having to face an epidemic at Covid-19 exists” and non-serious cases should then be able to be diagnosed and treated in the city.

“And who cares about the risks that [les médecins libéraux] run?, protested in a statement the Federation of Doctors of France. There are no FFP2 protective masks available from distributors, no protective glasses in the cabinets, no disposable gowns. The ministry’s response: “Use the remnants of the 2009 H1N1 flu allocations”! (they have all passed the expiration date but we will discreetly ignore this annoying “detail”). ”

The shooting window narrows. This virus (…) is the number one public enemy and is not treated as such

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization

The authorities are aware of the difficulty of communicating. It is necessary, indicates the guide of the Ministry of Health, to inform the personnel of care establishments because “The epidemic (…) could provoke (…) unjustified reactions during treatment (right of withdrawal of certain personnel …)”, as happened at the Brest University Hospital in early February. Faced with the general public, the government wants to keep control: only it “Communicates on the announcement of confirmed cases, deaths, cured patients”, and possible or suspicious cases will not be disclosed.

“The shooting window is narrowing. This virus (…) is the number one public enemy and it is not treated as such “, worried the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, which has been hot and cold since the start of the epidemic. Several experts believe it has entered a new phase, with cases with no clear epidemiological link to China. “The epidemic (…) has known a deep turning in the last 48 hours”, thus declared to AFP the Pr Devi Sridhar (Edinburgh Medical School). Others believe it is time to use the word “pandemic”: “You are only cursed if you warn against something that turns out to be minor. But you are damned, and rightly so, if you do not warn about something that turns out to be serious “, judge American risk communication experts Jody Lanard and Peter Sandman, on the blog of Australian virologist Ian Mackay, from the University of Queensland.

The mortality rate of SARS-CoV-2 is certainly lower than that of its big brother responsible for the SARS, but it is much more contagious: almost 80,000 cases in two months, where the SARS had made less than 10,000 between November 2002 and July 2003. And there is mounting evidence of transmission by asymptomatic patients. The hidden part of the iceberg could therefore be even larger than expected: in a study published on Friday, researchers at the Center for Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London estimated “About two-thirds of the cases of Covid-19 exported from mainland China have gone undetected worldwide, potentially causing multiple chains of human-to-human transmission outside of China that have yet to be identified”.


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