Covid-19: the chaos and blunders behind the mask shortages in France

France — Investigation

In a televised address on Monday evening when he announced the lockdown on public movement to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic is now extended into May, French President Emmanuel Macron admitted “our country was not sufficiently ready for this crisis”. But while the unpreparedness can be traced back to its predecessors, the French government has failed with its strategy for the urgent procurement of a vital piece of equipment that frontline healthcare staff sorely lack: protective masks. In this second investigation into the fiasco, Mediapart details the blunders that continue to place healthcare workers in danger, and how the business world has been more effectively provided for than hospitals.

Covid-19 deaths in France rise, ICU patient numbers down

France — Link

The French health authorities on Tuesday reported the highest 24-hour death toll yet from Covid-19 virus infection, with a total of 762 new fatalities, bringing the total number of recorded coronavirus-related deaths to 15,729, but the numbers of patients treated for the infection in intensive care fell for the sixth day in a row, to 6,730.

Macron prolongs lockdown into May, admits France was unprepared

France — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday that the current national lockdown on public movement to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic has been extended to May 11th, after which he forecast a gradual return to activity, while he also admitted that France had been insufficiently prepared for the health crisis.   

Recorded French Covid-19 deaths fall for second consecutive day

France — Link

Official figures released Saturday evening reported 635 deaths over the past 24 hours in France of people infected by the Covid-19 coronavirus, following a fall in the numbers that began on Friday, bringing the total number of fatalaties to 13,832 while the number of those infected by the virus who are receiving intensive care dropped to the lowest of the past week.

Holidaymakers on private jet from UK turned back by French police

International — Link

A party of seven men and three women of several nationalities who arrived from Britain in a chartered jet at Marseille-Provence airport, where helicopters were waiting to fly them on to a luxury villa in the Rivierra resort of Cannes, were told by airport police they were breaching regulations to contain the Cofid-19 virus epidemic and ordered to return to the UK.

Covid-19 outbreak among crew of French carrier Charles de Gaulle

France — Link

The French aircarft carrier Charles de Gaulle is returning early from duty in the Atlantic Ocean to its Mediterranean base of Toulon after 50 of its crew tested positive to infection by the Covid-19 coronavirus, three of whom were evacuated from the ship by air.

The drug dealers adapting to lockdown in France

France — Investigation

The coronavirus epidemic in France and the lockdown restrictions on public movement aimed at containing it are forcing drug dealers to adapt their business methods. They are also faced with a significant downturn in earnings as supplies are trapped behind closed national borders and their stock begins running out. In this report, originally published by Mediapart’s online regional news partner Mediacités, Mathieu Martinière investigates developments in the dark traffic in and around Lyon, France’s second-largest city.

Covid-19: France sees decrease in intensive care patients

France — Link

Official figures announced by the French health authorities on Thursday showed a slight decrease in the number of patients being treated in intensive care in hospitals for the coronavirus Covid-19, while the total number number of recorded deaths this year from the virus rose to 12,210.

Managing the lockdown in a French psychiatric care unit

France — Interview

Amid the heightening of the coronavirus epidemic in France, Mediapart has been asking doctors from a range of different hospital services to describe, in their own words, their day-to-day experiences and difficulties in coping with the current crisis. Here, Marion, a 28-year-old in-house junior doctor in an adult psychiatric care unit in the north-east town of Reims, details the very acute problems for her patients in observing the strict social confinement restrictions imposed under the national lockdown, and the “boomerang” effect to come from cancelled consultations.

Covid-19 deaths in France rise to more than 10,300

France — Link

Latest official figures released on Tuesday of the Covid-19 virus toll in France reported 607 deaths in hospitals over the preceeding 24 hours, and a further 802 fatalities in care homes, bringing the overall numbers of those who have died in the epidemic since March 1st to 10,328.

Paris steps up lockdown rules with ban on daytime jogging

France — Link

Amid instances of people flouting confinement measure introduced last month to contain the Covid-19 virus epidemic, Paris City Hall has tightened restrictions on the movement of residents, which until now prohibited all non-essential mobility except for brief exercise close to home, with a ban on jogging between 10am and 7pm.

WHO dismisses 'racist' proposition of Covid vaccine tests on Africans

International — Link

Comments by two French health experts who suggested a vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus could be tested in Africa have been dismissed by World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as a 'disgrace', a hangover from the 'colonial mentality', when he also assured 'this will not happen'.

French care homes face ethical crisis over life or death issues as virus takes its toll


The type of healthcare to be administered and the rules surrounding the physical and chemical restraint of some residents in France's care homes have been been urgently reviewed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting anger from some carers. They fear many residents who do not get the virus could suffer as a result, and that some who do could die “painful deaths” because of administrative delays, or be affected by a growing shortage of medicines. There is dismay, too, that these establishment are once again being treated as the poor relation in France's social and healthcare system. According to the government's incomplete figures some 2,189 deaths “linked to Covid” have occurred in the country's nursing homes since March 1st. Mathilde Goanec reports.

French hospitals record 588 coronavirus deaths; total reaches 5,091

France — Link

France's director general of health, Jérôme Salomon, also said at least 1,416 people had died at care homes since the start of the epidemic.

Proof of French government's lies over shortages of protective masks

France — Investigation

An investigation by Mediapart has revealed the chaotic management at the highest levels of the French state over the crucial issue of providing protective masks to help tackle the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Our probe, which has analysed the situation since January and is based on numerous witness accounts and documentary evidence, highlights the hidden shortages, the unreliable health instructions, the neglected offers of help with importing masks, the continuing shortage of stocks and the way that some companies have been favoured. It also reveals the lies that have accompanied this mismanagement. Meanwhile hundreds of nurses have become infected with the virus. Yann Philippin, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.