Monday, July 6, 2020

the French health authorities' crisis strategy

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Establishment of a "reception medical team" at Roissy airport, publication of a dedicated educational website, meeting every end of the day at the Ministry of Health, etc. Since the announcement on Friday 24 January of the identification of three cases of 2019-nCov coronavirus in France – the number of victims jumped Sunday to 80 dead and 2,744 cases in China – health authorities are deploying a crisis strategy to prevent the virus from spreading.

Read also Coronavirus: a third confirmed case of infection in France

Six new suspected cases were still awaiting test results on Sunday evening, health minister Agnès Buzyn announced late Sunday afternoon after an exceptional meeting with Edouard Philippe in Matignon. "I expect there will be new cases, like elsewhere", she had declared a few hours earlier to the Grand Jury RTL-Le Figaro-LCI, adding that “All of the infected people were in China. We have no case (contracted) in France. People who have symptoms probably have the flu ".

Contact the SAMU – Center 15

For the past few days, health authorities have been tirelessly repeating the procedure for people who are worried about presenting symptoms (fever and cough or breathing difficulties) after a trip to China or contact with someone returning from this country. They must not go to the emergency room or to their doctor but must contact the SAMU – Center 15, where they are assessed by a regulatory doctor.

In 24 hours, from Saturday evening to Sunday evening, around fifty calls "Needing to be investigated" were received by the Parisian SAMU, and between 20 and 25 during the same period by the Hauts-de-Seine SAMU as well as that of Val-de-Marne, announces the management of the Public Assistance-Hospitals of Paris (AP-HP).

To accommodate possible new proven adult cases, two Parisian hospitals (Bichat and La Pitié) have seven adapted rooms each. In the rest of the country, twelve other referral hospitals are also equipped with such rooms. "We feel that the situation is under control because we learned with SARS in 2003-2004: the SAMU is well organized, the emergency services have received training and there is a much higher level of competence", says Jean-Christophe Lucet, head of the infection prevention and control unit at Bichat-Claude Bernard hospital in Paris.

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