Lunchtime news Thursday 19th March 2020


Extension of confinement period highly likely according to Public Health Agency France - Director general of the health agency, Public Health  France, Genevieve Chêne has announced on French radio this morning that the "prolongation of the confinement  is very likely to be necessary" specifying that it would be necessary to wait "between 2 and 4 weeks" to observe a change in the dynamics of the coronavirus epidemic. 

Adding that the dynamics of the epidemic "depend on everyone's adherence to the barrier and containment measures" she estimated that "a significant braking" of the epidemic should be able to be observed "within 2 to 4 weeks ". 

Concluding  "It is likely that it will indeed be necessary to extend (the containment measures) so that the braking is sufficient, the extension will most likely be necessary," 

Asked about an inversion of the epidemic curve, she replied that based on "the experiences of other countries which have experienced the epidemic before France and implemented extremely strict measures, we see that the dynamics unfolds on 2 at 3 months in general, an inversion of the peak occurs between the first and the second month ".

Race for coronavirus treatment - As the global race continues to try and find a treatment for coronavirus the UK biotech firm Synairgen is reportedly planning to trial its experimental lung drug on Covid-19 patients.

The company received the green light from UK regulators to conduct a trial of its lead drug SNG001 at NHS trusts across the country.

The inhaled drug has been in development as a treatment for chronic-obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), a severe lung disease, but this has been paused to conduct testing on 100 patients who have been diagnosed with Covid-19.

It was identified in a WHO analysis of potential treatments against the coronavirus. Patients can self-administer it, through a small hand-held battery-operated nebulizer.

The trial is due to start next week.


Italy extends confinement period - According to the head of the Italian government Giuseppe Conte "the restrictive measures are working" but they will have to be extended after the peak of contamination.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that the containment measures taken a week ago in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, would be "extended to from it’s end" on April 3rd.

The pandemic killed 475 people in Italy between Tuesday and Wednesday, the worst record recorded in a single country in a day, according to the official report released Wednesday.


Now, nearly 3,000 people have lost their lives in the country due to this disease, a figure very close to that of China (more than 3,200 dead) where the pandemic started.


Giuseppe Conte said he did not plan to tighten the arsenal of restrictive measures for the moment, but said he was ready "to act" if the restrictions were not respected.


Adding "We must use common sense and act with the utmost awareness, the criminal sanctions for violators are there and will be strictly applied,"


He concluded "I agree with the mayors who have also closed public gardens and parks, one thing is to practice a sporting activity, another is to transform public places into meeting points, which is unacceptable".

Several elected officials from the northern regions of Italy, where the contagion is still progressing strongly, believe that if it does not slow down in the coming days, even more rigid measures will have to be planned, such as the ban on jogging.

For the past week, 60 million Italians have been confined to their homes and can only travel for professional or imperative reasons and any gathering is prohibited. Schools are closed.


Police need protection urgently - Police unions have warned that due to the lack of protection to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the ranks of the police, officers « are in danger ».


Emmanuel Macron spoke of a "war" against an enemy for which "the police can still not wear masks when they want to," denounces a unionist, adding that "When colleagues control people without masks, it shocks the population who say 'but wait, the police will be a vector of the virus'. 


Believing that "the police are in danger", the union representative has issued an "ultimatum" to the administration: his colleagues will exercise their right of withdrawal if they are not allowed to wear a mask and if measures of social distancing are not taken quickly.


On Wednesday night, a union representing the CRS of the departments of Rhône, Isère and Ain carried out its threats, by exercising its right of withdrawal, to denounce a "lack of personal protective equipment" such as "FFP2 masks" or "latex protective gloves", tools necessary to protect yourself from the coronavirus.


100,000 police and gendarmes have been mobilized since Tuesday to enforce the travel restrictions announced by Emmanuel Macron in order to fight the coronavirus epidemic.


Wednesday evening, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that the police had drawn up to 4,095 minutes in one day for non-compliance with the rules of containment. And just as much risk of contamination.

Métropole Monte-Carlo closes its doors - Following in the footsteps of hotel palaces on the Côte d'Azur such as the Negresco or the Carlton, the Métropole Monte-Carlo hotel has made the decision to temporarily close its doors.

The Monegasque palace has made the decision to temporarily cease its activity to fight against the spread of the Covid-19.


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