Official French figures released Sunday evening said 13 people had died in hospitals from the Covid-19 virus over the previous 24 hours, down from 232 on Saturday, while recorded new cases of infections by the virus, and hospitalisations and intensive care unit patients treated for the disease all continued to fall, although the numbers of fatalities are expected to rise when the toll in care homes are due to be announced on Tuesday.
Immunologist Jean-François Delfraissy, head of the French government's scientific advisory council, on Friday pronounced that 'we can reasonably say' the Covid-19 virus epidemic was now 'under control' in the country.
France recorded 44 new deaths of patients hospitalised for Covid-19 virus infection over the 24 hours to Thursday evening, bringing the total number of recorded fatalities since March 1st to 29,065, while the numbers of all those hospitalised for the disease fell for the seventh week in a row, including a further slight fall among those intensive care units, although the latest toll among care homes will not next be announced until June 9th.
The former head of British foreign intelligence agency MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove, this week cited a scientific report suggesting the Covid-19 virus was man-made and that the pandemic was caused by its accidental leakage from a high-security laboratory in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a claim swiftly denied by the director of the site. The French-designed lab at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, inaugurated in 2017, was the result of a cooperation agreement signed between France and China for research into emerging diseases. In this second report into the history of the lab, Jacques Massey details how the agreement became a controversial issue within France’s government and intelligence agencies, notably because of the involvement of the Chinese military in scientific research, and the wider background of the accident-prone development of biological weapons.
The official toll of deaths in France from the Covid-19 virus rose to more than 29,000 on Wednesday, when a rise in confirmed cases of infection was also recorded.
French digital affairs minister Cédric O claimed on Wednesday that the launch of a contact-tracing app that warns users if they have come into contact with a person who has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus got off to a 'very, very good start' after it was downloaded around 600,000 times since becoming available the previous afternoon.
The maximum-level biosafety laboratory at the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the first of its kind to be built in China, and has been the centre of huge speculation since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic which originated in that city. The laboratory, which is equipped to handle Class 4 pathogens (P4) including dangerous viruses such as Ebola, was built with the help of French experts and under the guidance of French billionaire businessman Alain Mérieux, despite strong objections by health and defence officials in Paris. Since the laboratory's inauguration by prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve in 2017, however, France has had no supervisory role in the running of the facility and planned cooperation between French researchers and the laboratory has come to a grinding halt. Karl Laske and Jacques Massey report.
To ensure that citizens complied with the Coronavirus lockdown introduced on March 17th 2020, the French government drew up legislation to make breaches of the rules a criminal offence. But lawyers and academics have raised concerns as to whether part of that legislation – which can lead to jail for anyone who breaches the rules more than three times in a month – is constitutional. France's top constitutional authority, the Conseil Constitutionnel or Constitutional Council, is due to rule on the issue in June. Meanwhile there have been more than 1,500 criminal cases involving repeat offenders and a number of people have already been jailed. Camille Polloni reports.
Some health workers already doubt that the reforms will live up to the “massive” investment promised by President Emmanuel Macron.
Souleymane Bachir Diagne, a philosopher from Senegal who is currently living and working in the United States, has spoken out about the current global health crisis and the inequalities and prejudice that it has revealed and the outdated thinking it has exposed about Africa. In an interview with Mediapart's Rachida El Azzouzi the academic discusses why so many observers still only discuss the continent through the prism of disease and disaster. Souleymane Bachir Diagne explains that despite many of them having a colonial past, developed countries of the North do not really know modern Africa and the progress it has made in recent decades. He calls on African countries and people to proclaim their achievements to the rest of the world, and talks of the need to 'decolonise' our minds.
The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic rose to 28,132, and the number of confirmed cases increased by 418 to 143,845 on Wednesday, an increase of 0.3%, in line with the average rise per day seen since the end of a lockdown on May 11.
The number of people infected by the Covid-19 virus in France had already reached epidemic proportions in February, weeks before the lockdown on public movement was introduced, this investigation by Mediapart reveals. Research now being carried out by doctors even suggests that the very first cases of the coronavirus appeared in the country in mid-November of last year. But the restrictive measures limiting testing for the virus hid the reality of its propagation, which has to date claimed more than 28,000 lives.
Official figures released on Sunday announced 429 deaths from the Covid-19 virus over the previous 24 hours, mostly recorded in care homes, bringing the total number of recorded deaths in the country from the disease to 28,108, while hospitalisations of patients infected by the coronavirus continued to fall.
Cuts and outsourcing left France scrambling for masks, tests, and even pain pills in its emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic.