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


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.

The Online Cold War: foreign hackers and trolls undeterred by virus crisis

France — Investigation

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has not brought a stop to the activities of hackers and trolls bankrolled by various foreign governments, including Russia and China. In some cases hacking attacks have targeted institutions who are in the front line in the battle against the virus. Trolls meanwhile have been extolling the virtues of how authoritarian regimes have handled the health emergency. François Bougon and Matthieu Suc report.

French government's failings magnified by Covid-19 epidemic

France — Analysis

The French government's public utterances during the coronavirus crisis have cruelly exposed its shortcomings, its method of thinking and the extent to which it is out of touch with events on the ground. There have been contradictory instructions, a slowness to express gratitude to those tackling the crisis on the front line, and great emphasis on the country being “at war”. Inside the government, writes Mediapart political journalist Ellen Salvi, some are worried about the image the executive is giving of itself during the crisis.

Former French minister Patrick Devedjian dies after catching Covid-19

France — Link

The 75-year-old politician, who had served under President Nicolas Sarkozy,  had been placed under observation in a hospital last Wednesday.

Paris hospitals urged to treat Covid crisis as 'natural disaster'

France — Investigation

Hospital intensive care units in the Paris region are already swamped by the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. Mediapart has seen emails in which the regional health authority has asked hospital chiefs to free up a thousand beds in 48 hours as a matter of urgency and to transform their hospitals into disaster zone facilities. There has even been talk of nurses having to be pressed into service. Meanwhile hospital staff, who are poorly protected and in some cases themselves suffering from the virus, say they will “settle their scores” with the health authorities later. Caroline Coq-Chodorge reports.

Chloroquine: the controversial drug at the heart of the race for a coronavirus treatment


In China and the United States, as well as France, the drug chloroquine is one of the main focal points in the race to provide an effective treatment for the Covid-19 coronavirus. So far there is still insufficient data to show whether this anti-malaria drug will prove useful in treating people infected with the virus. And a French study praising its benefits has become mired in controversy. Rouguyata Sall reports.

The French military's belated response in defending its soldiers from the virus


In all “several dozen” military personnel in France have contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus since the start of the outbreak. The Ministry of Defence in Paris insists that measures to stem the spread of the virus within the armed forces have been applied “very rigorously”. But the accounts of some soldiers and defence staff on the ground tell a different story and paint a picture of a command structure unsure how to react to the growing health threat to their own personnel. Justine Brabant reports.

Covid-19: a diary of lockdown in a small French village

France — Report

The introduction by the French government last week of a lockdown on people’s movements  amid the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic saw some city dwellers head for more pleasant surrounds in which to be confined. Sports journalist Jean-Louis Le Touzet was one of them, arriving just before the restrictions entered into force in a small village on the Channel coast, where he immediately began keeping this diary. In Audresselles, the health crisis is an economic catastrophe as businesses go to the wall in what Le Touzet’s British and Brexit-supporting neighbour, now confined in Europe, warns will be “worse than the crash in 2008”.

France’s virus death toll rises by 186 to 860, lockdown to last 'weeks'

France — Link

As France entered the second week of a nationwide lockdown, the toal number of confirmed coronavirus cases also increased Monday to 19,856, or a rise of about 20 percent in 24 hours.

French recorded Covid-19 deaths rise on Sunday to 674

France — Link

Official French figures released on Sunday evening indicated deaths so far in the country from Covid-19 coronavirus infection had risen to a total of 674, up by 112 since Saturday, while there were 16,018 cases of people tested positive for the virus.

Why social solidarity is a defence against the virus epidemic

International — Opinion

The Covid-19 coronavirus is now spreading in the US, where if you have wealth or a salary, and enough space at home, you might be able to pull off the absurd trick of isolating yourself for a few months, writes Columbia Law School professor and essayist Jedediah Britton-Purdy, but for half the population with no savings, living paycheck to paycheck, which has to hustle every day to find work, this is simply impossible.

French hospitals braced for Covid-19 'tsunami' and choices of who dies and who lives

France — Investigation

Recorded deaths in France from the Covid-19 coronavirus by Saturday evening had risen to 562, with 6,172 people receiving hospital treatment for the infection, a quarter of who are in intensive care, according to official figures. But no-one doubts this is still a statistical calm before the epidemic engulfs France’s healthcare system, a wave forecast to reach a peak in early April. Mediapart has been talking to doctors and nurses around France about how they are preparing for a crisis many predict will be so great that choices will have to be made about which patients are admitted for treatment – as is already happening in the currently worst-hit region of Alsace.

Known French Covid-19 deaths rise to 450

France — Link

The total number of recorded deaths from the Covid-19 coronavirus in France had risen to 450 by Friday evening, according a health official, while nearly 1,300 people were receiving intensive care and another 12,612 people were found to be carrying the infection. 

The major virus threat for France's overcrowded jails


Amid the galloping Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic in France, there is a particularly grave threat to the country’s prison population, many of who are detained in overcrowded and insalubrious conditions. The dangers are such that measures are underway to reduce inmate numbers, with magistrates advised to deliver bail conditions instead of jail terms, and to approve unusually early release for prisoners nearing the end of their sentences. But many magistrates find themselves caught in a dilemma over both practical and ethical issues.

Covid-19 deaths in France rise to 264, more than 9,000 infected

France — Link

Deaths from the Covid-19 coronavirus in France rose by 89 over the past 24 hours to total 264, while the known number of those infected climbed to 9,134, according to official figures released on Wednesday evening, as still inadequate testing capacity for the virus was raised to a daily 2,500.