The grim inside story of how France struggled to deal with the Covid dead

France — Investigation

A report from a French government department has highlighted the major problems that took place as the country dealt with the victims of the epidemic in the spring. These included the enforced cremations of some of those who died, and funeral staff being exposed to danger of infection. The document, seen by Mediapart, contains a number of recommendations about what the state should do in the future. But as Lou Syrah reports, there are fears that without swift action the authorities could face similar problems - and greater anger - during the second wave.

The Covid-19 dilemma for France’s overseas territories


While mainland France went into lockdown last Friday in an attempt to stem a new surge of the coronavirus epidemic, its overseas territories, with the exception of the Caribbean island of La Martinique, were exempted. The dire structural economic and social problems many have long been struggling with were exacerbated by the first total lockdown introduced earlier this year. But as the virus rapidly spreads, the overseas territories, with a total population of close to three million, face a dilemma that for many could end in a hammer blow. Julien Sartre reports.

Macron announces national lockdown from Friday

France — Link

President Emmanuel Macron has announced a national lockdown on public movement in France beginning on Friday and which will last at least until December 1st, as the country witnesses a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections and deaths.

France heads closer to new lockdown as virus crisis heightens

France — Link

There were growing calls from French medical professionals and politicians on Monday for the re-introduction of a general lockdown of public movement to combat the soaring numbers of Covid-19 infections across the country, now at more than one million, and which has seen a significant rise in people hospitalised with the disease.

Macron warns virus will not be overcome until next summer 'at best'

France — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron, visiting a hospital near Paris, said scientists have advised him they believed the novel coronavirus would be present 'at best until next summer",  addinbg it was still too early, despite a surge in infections, to say whether France would go into a new full or partial lockdown.

France widens curfew measures as Covid-19 epidemic soars

France — Link

As the numbers of Covid-19 infections and hospitalisations soar in France, Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday announced  9pm-6am curfew measures, aleady in place in Paris and eight other cities to limit public socialising, will now include a vast swathe of the country, representing two thirds of the population.

Covid-19 cases and hospitalisations in France still rising

France — Link

In their daily briefing on Wednesday, France's health authorities reported 26,676 new Covid-19 infections, bringing the total to more than 950,000, while 700 more people were hospitalised and another 163 died from the disease bringing the total to 34,048.

Covid-19 curfew threatens to bring down final curtain on French cinemas

France — Link

After being forced to close their establishments during the lockdown, theatre and cinema operators in the Île-de-France region and eight major cities now have to deal with the introduction on Saturday of a curfew from 9 pm, for at least four weeks.

Private parties, weddings banned during France’s Covid restrictions

France — Link

In addition to curfews in the nine Covid-19 hotspots, nighttime festivities have been banned across France.

French police search homes of top officials in virus probe

France — Link

The searches are part of an investigation into the government response to the global coronavirus pandemic, and included the offices of the current health minister Olivier Veran.

France imposes 9pm curfew in major cities in fight against Covid

France — Link

French president Emmanuel Macron has announced a late night curfew for residents in Paris, Marseille and seven other cities: Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne and Toulouse, covering 19 million people. The government also moved to reinstate its COVID-19 state of health emergency.

French PM won't rule out more restrictions as virus spikes

France — Link

Jean Castex's warning came asFrench  health authorities reported about 43,000 new coronavirus infections over the weekend. 

Fear and bitterness in France's care homes as second Covid wave arrives

France — Report

France's care home sector, which was on the front line of the Covid-19 crisis in the early part of the year, is now bracing itself for the second wave. A number of residential homes are already closed to visitors and in some areas staff have had to stop relatives climbing in through windows to see their loved ones. Amid the fear and anxiety about the rapid return of the Coronavirus, there is also growing bitterness among both care home staff and domestic carers that they have once again been overlooked. Angry representatives point out that their working conditions and pay have not been given the same priority as those of hospital staff. Mathilde Goanec reports.

Soaring virus infection puts more French cities on alert

France — Link

Montpellier and Toulouse have joined Paris and Marseille and four other cities in the maximum alert status to fight back the coronavirus.

The failings of France's ambulance service during Covid crisis

France — Investigation

Documents obtained by Mediapart show that during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic earlier this year France's ambulance service SAMU was slow to help some patients in urgent need of treatment because it was deluged with emergency calls. This organisational problem in turn led to reduced survival chances for some patients. Health experts fear that the ambulance service has not learnt the lessons from the springtime Covid crisis and that the same problems could reoccur during a second wave of the epidemic this autumn. Pascale Pascariello reports.