Lunchtime news update Wednesday 6th May 2020

France already has a plan should the end of lockdown fail - Referred to by some as “Monsieur deconfinement” Jean Castex, the national coordinator for the deconfinement strategy for the French government has assured that “should the progressive end to the lockdown on May 11th fail he has already prepared a plan for the “reconfinement” or “return to lockdown”.

Castex said that from May 11th, "as soon as the number of positive patients, beyond contact cases, is abnormally high, then it will indeed be necessary to give France the means to act immediately ".

He added that “while a plan is ready, should France need to return to lockdown, that is not our objective," concluding that "If we don't want this to happen, one of the best ways is that we respect the essential rules, barrier measures, hand washing, wearing masks in certain situations, and getting tested as soon as “we have symptoms”

According to him, "national mobilization will be a determining factor" for the success - or failure - of deconfinement.

Eurobio signs agreement to market serological test - Eurobio the Ile-de-France company, has reportedly signed an agreement to market the test developed by NG Biotech to nursing homes and healthcare personnel, enabling the detection of Covid-19 from a drop of blood.

The test, NG-Test IgG-IgM COVID-19, is part of the so-called serological tests. Its big advantage is to be able to detect in just 15 minutes, from a drop of blood, the body's response to Covid-19, by identifying the two types of antibodies produced against the virus.

This is unlike tests using a nasal swab, which can be falsely negative. The "all-in-one" device from NG Biotech analyzes a droplet of blood pricked at the fingertip.

SNCF - With more travellers on the train network in France from May 11th, the SNCF has introduced several measures to allow travellers to take the train safely.

Firstly, as has already been announced, wearing a mask will be compulsory on public transport. Users who do not respect this will risk a fine. Travellers are reminded that they will have to come with their own mask as the SNCF will not be distributing them. 500 gel sanitiser terminals will be installed in 165 stations and all trains will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day.

The SNCF will also allow users to anticipate their journeys, through a transport plan which will be revealed at the end of this week. Train passengers will also be able to know the day before their trip, how crowded their train is by connecting to the SNCF application. The objective is to regulate overcrowding during rush hour.

Regional coronavirus update - 7 new deaths from Covid-19 have been reported in the region. 3 occurred in the Alpes Maritimes and 4 in the Var bringing the total number of deaths for both regions to 422.

203 patients are currently hospitalised in the Alpes Maritimes of which 26 are in intensive care. In the Var 233 people are in hosptial of which 29 are in internsive care. 

Meanwhile the Provence Alpes Maritimes remains classified as a “green” on the end of lockdown map which is to be made definite from tomorrow Thursday 7th May. At present the government maintains 27 departments in in France in the red zone meaning they are regions considered to be most at risk and will therefore see a slower implementation of the deconfinement.

Transport in Nice - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi will today present the plan for all modes of travel and transport in the city which is to be implemented from May 11th. It will most definitely include an increase in cycling lanes with many already set up in several areas of the city.

When possible teleworking made compulsory in the Principality - The National Council in Monaco has unanimously voted a bill making teleworking compulsory during the health crisis.

In order to help limit the spread of the virus, and in order to protect the health of employees and employers but also of the entire population, teleworking is compulsory for all positions which allow it.

Professor Didier Raoult - Professor Didier Raoult, the head of Marseille hospital whose recommendations for a hydroxychloroquine-based treatment of Covid-19 patients are controversial, has questioned the severity of the coronavirus. In a video published on Tuesday the professor claims that "the virus poses a danger only for populations at risk".

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