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With a lack of masks France lifts quarantine on Schengen states

After announcing the opposite, the French government has decided that France will not impose quarantine on people “from the EU, the Schengen area or the United Kingdom”.

Published: May 4, 2020, 9:31 am

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    France’s borderless policy continues even though on Saturday May 2, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran had announced that anyone entering the national territory would be subject to quarantine from May 11 to protect the country from external spread.

    The very next day, the Elysée Palace overturned its decision. Finally, “anyone, whatever their nationality, from the EU, the Schengen area or the United Kingdom” , will be free to enter French territory without restriction, reported weekly magazine Le Point.

    Concerning other countries, the measures will be specified by the Quai d’Orsay “in the coming days”.

    This weekend, Olivier Véran explained that, as part of the extension of the state of health emergency, all “people entering the national territory or arriving in an overseas territory” would be placed in confinement for 14 days. This measure strongly resembled a form of closing national borders, an option that France has always opposed since the arrival of the epidemic. As of the beginning of March, many European countries had decided to close their borders to avoid spreading the virus from outside.

    With this retraction, France is therefore exposed to receiving cases of the Coronavirus from the outside, even though a second internal wave of the epidemic could hit the country from the inside. The government decided on Saturday May 2, to extend the state of the health emergency by two months until July 24. On May 11, France, like fifteen European countries, will begin a phase of deconfinement.

    Stocks of masks have now seen a new resurgence of looting. Hospital establishments, pharmacies, suppliers, etc, with the complicity of certain caregivers or to their detriment, have been stolen while there is still a shortage of several thousand masks in the country.

    With the approach of a partial deconfinement which will require a large number of masks, several lootings have been organised in recent days, according to information obtained by Valeurs Actuelles.

    On April 25, in Ivry-sur-Seine (Val-de-Marne), the non-profit association Adef Résidences, which collaborates in particular with Ehpad, deplored the theft of 16 000 of its surgical masks.

    According to its president, who lodged a complaint the day after the discovery of the facts, individuals, taking advantage of the movements of employees, entered the premises of the association and stole its stocks on two occasions.

    Also in the Paris region, in Roissy-en-France (Val d’Oise), 20 000 masks were stolen, among other materials, from the premises of a mail order company, visited by two burglars, ironically both masked.

    Marine Le Pen, interviewed on BFM TV on Sunday, once again castigated the measures taken by the government and the lack of masks.

    After several weeks of withdrawal from the political scene, the president of the National Rally placed a wreath at the foot of the Joan of Arc statue in Paris on Friday, and also made a short statement on government policy. Le Pen urged all French people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus. “We have been locked up at home for almost two months,” she replied to the journalist who questioned her.

    “So I’m sorry, but it seems to me that wearing a mask is much less painful and has less consequences on our economy, because I also think of artisans, self-employed entrepreneurs, traders, tourism… I say to myself that wearing a mask in public space […] is still less detrimental to individual freedoms than being locked up at home.”

    Asked about the countries that follow this policy of wearing a mask, she said: “In general, in Asia, the mask does not need to be mandatory because everyone wears it. It is part of the tradition.” She added: “Studies have been done, that if 90 percent of people wear a mask, it considerably reduces the risk of spreading the virus.”

    Throughout her interview, Marine Le Pen was acerbic towards the executive. “It is a state bankruptcy from start to finish,” she said. She also considered that passing a health emergency law for two months was “too much” for the country. “It has to last a month or three weeks,” she added.

    Marine Le Pen also joked about maintaining the closing of beaches when transport is open: “We say ‘yes’ for the metro and ‘no’ for the beaches, it’s inconsistent.” Finally, she replied to the Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, who “would do better, in her opinion, to deal with public security rather than only comment on it”.

    Meanwhile, Professor Yves Cohen, head of the intensive care unit at Jean-Verdier hospital, located in Bondy (Seine-Saint-Denis), has claimed that a patient treated for pneumonia last January actually had the Coronavirus.

    The first cases of contamination with Covid-19 in France were identified on January 24, but it is possible that the virus were spreading in France several weeks earlier, said Cohen, the head of resuscitation in two hospitals in Seine-Saint-Denis, who was invited on the set of BFMTV this Sunday, May 3.

    The practitioner, who works at the Avicennes hospital in Pantin and Jean-Verdier de Bondy, affirmed that after verifications, one of his patients who came to seek treatment on December 27 for pneumonia was in fact suffering from Covid-19. “We repeated all the PCRs tested in patients with pneumonia in December and January whose results were negative,” he said. “And of the 24 patients, we had a positive case at Covid-19, on December 27, when he was hospitalized with us, at Jean-Verdier.”

    Cohen’s comments follow in the wake of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo saying he has “enormous evidence” that the virus came from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

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