Isolated and vulnerable: why France's overseas territories feel shunned in virus crisis

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The threat of the Covid-19 coronavirus is particularly great for France's overseas regions and territories because of their remoteness and their lack of infrastructure. But above all, as Julien Sartre writes, the pandemic risks being a disaster for the morale and mental well-being of the people living on these far-flung lands.

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“Lots of people are becoming mystical, we don't trust the outside world and at the same we're afraid of being cut off from that world, and the craziest information is doing the rounds,” said Yasmine Payet, a resident on La Réunion, a French overseas département or county. Contacted by phone at her home, she describes the oppressive mood on the Indian Ocean island. “This morning someone gave me a learned explanation of how the virus can be transmitted by telephone. And there aren't yet any deaths. What will it be like when there are?” she wondered. The fear of contamination – in all senses - is a widespread one on Le Réunion.