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|2020 coronavirus pandemic in France|
Confirmed cases per million inhabitants by region
Regions of France with number of people currently hospitalised
|First outbreak||Wuhan, Hubei, China|
|Arrival date||24 January 2020|
(2 months, 1 week and 3 days)
|5,387 (Total) |
|Public Health France|
The 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have spread to France on 24 January 2020, when the first COVID-19 case in Europe and France was confirmed in Bordeaux. It involved a 48-year-old French citizen who arrived in France from China. Two more cases were confirmed by the end of the day; all of the individuals had recently returned from China. A Chinese tourist was admitted to a hospital in Paris on 28 January and died on 14 February, marking the first death from COVID-19 outside of Asia.
One key event in the spread of the disease across Metropolitan France as well as its overseas territories was the annual assembly of the Christian Open Door Church between 17 and 24 February in Mulhouse which was attended by about 2,500 people, at least half of whom are believed to have contracted the virus. As of 31 March 2020[update], there have been 52,128 confirmed cases, 5,387 deaths within hospital and retirement homes and 7,132 recoveries in France.
On 12 March, president of France Emmanuel Macron announced on public television that all schools and all universities would close from Monday 16 March until further notice. The next day, the prime minister Édouard Philippe banned gatherings of more than 100 people, not including public transportation. The following day, the prime minister ordered the closure of all nonessential public places, including restaurants, cafés, cinemas, and discothèques, effective at midnight. On 16 March, President Macron announced a national lockdown for 15 days starting on 17 March midday. On 27 March, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that the lockdown would be extended until 15 April.
On 24 January, the first COVID-19 case in Europe was confirmed in Bordeaux. A 48-year-old French citizen from China, who arrived in France on 22 January, was hospitalised at Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bordeaux. Service d'Aide Médicale Urgente took charge and the patient was isolated in the hospital. The authorities tried to confirm whether he had infected people who were in contact with him.
Two more cases were confirmed in Paris by the end of the day – a couple who had returned from China on 18 January. The 31-year-old man and his 30-year-old partner, both from Wuhan, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and were hospitalised at Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital in Paris.
On 28 January, an 80-year-old Chinese tourist from Hubei tested positive and was hospitalised at Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital, the following day, his 50-year-old daughter tested positive and was admitted to the same hospital. The 80-year-old Chinese tourist died on 14 February, marking the first death from COVID-19 in outside of Asia.
On 30 January, a Paris doctor who had come into contact with a Chinese tourist whose infection was confirmed upon her return to China was confirmed positive for COVID-19.
|Case||Date||Age||Gender||Nationality||Hospital admitted to||Source of infection||Status||Note||Source|
|1||24 January 2020||48||Male||French||Hôpital Pellegrin, Bordeaux||China||Discharged||First case in Europe. Wine merchant back from China. Out of hospital on 13 February.|||
|2||30||Male||Chinese||Hôpital Bichat, Paris||Discharged||Couple living in France back from China. Out of hospital on 12 February.|||
|4||28 January 2020||80||Male||Dead||Chinese tourist. Died 14 February, first in Europe. He was in very serious condition during his hospitalisation.|||
|5||29 January 2020||50||Female||Discharged||Chinese tourist. Daughter of the fourth infected. It is not clear if she had the virus in China or contracted it from her father. Out of hospital at the start of the third week of February.|||
|6||30 January 2020||Unknown||Male||French||Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris||France||Discharged||Doctor infected by a patient, who later returned to Asia. Out of hospital on 14 February.|||
On 8 February, Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn confirmed five new cases which originated from a group of people who were on a holiday in Les Contamines-Montjoie, Haute-Savoie. They contracted the infection from a British national who had attended a conference at Grand Hyatt in Singapore a few days before.
Another British national, who had stayed in the same chalet as the five other individuals at Les Contamines-Montjoie tested positive for COVID-19. On 18 February, the new Minister of Health, Olivier Véran – the replacement for Agnès Buzyn, who had stood down to contest the mayoral election for Paris for LREM – announced that only four people remained infected in France. These four, all British nationals, underwent quarantine at the hospital, three from the first group of Les Contamines-Montjoie and a fourth case which was discovered later. The last remaining British national was discharged six days later.
A religious week in Mulhouse that took place from 17 to 24 February 2020 was involved in the rapid spread of the virus to eastern France and beyond. Linked cases developed from early March in Orléans, Besançon, Saint-Lô, Belfort, Dijon, Mâcon, Agen, Briançon, Paris, Corsica and French Guiana
On 25 February, a Chinese man who had returned from China was confirmed as a carrier of SARS-CoV-2, but showed signs of recent recovery. A 64-year-old man from La Balme-de-Sillingy, who returned from a trip to Lombardy on 15 February, tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 and was treated in Centre Hospitalier Annecy-Genevois, Épagny-Metz-Tessy. His wife also tested positive and was admitted to the same hospital as her husband.
On 26 February, a 36-year-old man, who had made multiple trips to Lombardy, tested positive and was treated in Nouvel Hôspital Civil, Strasbourg. A 60-year-old French teacher from Oise was first admitted to Creil Hospital, then transferred to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, where he died a few hours later. A 55-year-old man from Oise was admitted to the intensive care unit at CHU Amiens-Picardie, Amiens.
On 27 February, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran announced that France had 38 cases of COVID-19 on its soil, with 20 new cases detected including a cluster in the Oise caused by close contacts with patients that were infected in Egypt.
On 28 February, one new case was confirmed, a 23-year-old fashion student from Nice who had recently returned from Milan. Landes confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the region, a woman who tested positive at Centre Hospitalier de Mont-de-Marsan and underwent isolation.
The annual gathering of the Christian Open Door Church between 17 and 24 February in Mulhouse which was attended by about 2,500 people became a significant cluster in the spread of coronavirus in France. Alerted by a parishioner and by 18 family members who tested positive on 1 March, the pastor notified the health authorities. A man who lived alone in Nîmes – and who had driven back alone from Mulhouse and who otherwise had no close contacts – tested positive, and the flurry of reported cases locally on 2 March brought the existence of a Mulhouse cluster to light. On 3 March, seven participants in the evangelical rally – including five members of a local family and a general practitioner from Bernwiller – had tested positive for the virus. Starting on the evening of 3 March, the local helpline of the Emergency medical services recorded an unprecedented flood of distress calls, from people who had attended the gathering. According to an investigative report by Radio France, at least half of the attendees had contracted the virus; in an interview on France Info, the pastor of the church admitted that 2000 attendees may have been infected. It is said that no specific health advice existed in light of the threat at the time. The source of the initial infection has not been determined; furthermore, as different attendees were welcomed each day, and due to the absence of any attendance register, epidemiological followup subsequent to the discovery of attendees who tested positive was rendered impossible. Even President Emmanuel Macron had spent several hours electioneering on 18 February in the Bourtzwiller district close to the church. It was only on 2 March when the health authorities woke up to data that there was an outbreak all over the country linked to the religious meeting, by which time secondary infections had spread out of control.
A Radio France investigation identified that one nurse who had attended the event was the origin of a subsequent cluster in Strasbourg at her workplace at the Strasbourg University Hospitals involving some 250 hospital colleagues. Five returnees from the Mulhouse rally were confirmed in French Guiana on 4 March. On 5 March, a retired couple from Lot-et-Garonne and another person from Deux-Sèvres who had attended the same Mulhouse gathering were declared positive for the disease. Five new cases from this cluster were registered in Corsica, and three in Normandy. By 6 March, with 81 cases had been detected in the previous 24 hours in Mulhouse, the departmental prefect declared that the means were no longer sufficient to systematically screen all suspected cases; only the most serious patients were to be hospitalised. The department of Haut Rhin, in which Mulhouse is situated, imposed strict limits on the gatherings; all schools were closed henceforth.
On 31 January approximately 220 French returnees from China landed at Istres-Le Tubé Air Base, aboard an Airbus A340 from Esterel 3/60 transport squadron stationed at Creil Air Base. These evacuees were quarantined in a holiday camp in Carry-le-Rouet. A second wave of repatriation took place on 2 February when 65 evacuated French nationals on board a chartered Airbus A380-800 Hi Fly landed at the Istres air base. A third repatriation of 38 French occurred on 8 February 2020 under the auspices of the British government.
On 21 February a further thirty French people who had been staying in Wuhan were repatriated to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and placed in quarantine at Branville, in the Calvados. On 13 March twelve trainee gendarmes at the School of Gendarmerie of Tulle (Corrèze) saw their internship in Spain terminated, with them and their 20 companions repatriated. They had been confined from 10 March 2020 following the positive test results of two of their Spanish cohort.
The first round of municipal elections in France took place on 15 March 2020 against the backdrop of the government decision to move to Stage III of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Stringent restrictions on public life involving the closure of bars, restaurants and other businesses considered non-essential were set to begin the following day. Then-Health Minister, Agnès Buzyn, resigned on 16 February 2020 to run for the Paris mayor for LREM. She is succeeded by Olivier Véran, a neurologist. The decision to press ahead with the election was justified as being critical to democratic life in the country, despite concerns about how a second round could be held as the toll of infections and deaths continued to rise. In the end, the turnout of registered voters was 40%, lower than achieved in 1971 – the previous record lowest turnout.
A 16-year-old girl residing in the Paris region who had no known co-morbidity became the youngest French victim of the disease. She had developed a mild cough but was subsequently admitted to hospital upon feeling short of breath. Her condition deteriorated and she died a week later, on 26 March.
Health officials remained emphatic that severe cases are very rare in young people. In a weekly briefing, Director of Health, Jérôme Salomon, said that the 15 to 44 year age group represented only 8% of serious Coronovirus cases admitted to hospital, and half of the cases exhibited pre-existing health conditions. Up to 24 March, only 5 cases out of 507 certified deaths were in the 15-44 age group, and all had pre-existing health issues.
On 25 February, a man from La Balme-de-Sillingy, who had returned from Italy, was declared infected and hospitalised in Annecy. He had been asymptomatic the previous evening, and so was the trigger for a cluster in Haute-Savoie. One day later his wife was hospitalised. On 27 February, a friend and his daughter followed him into the hospital On 2 March, 26 people were COVID-19 positive in Haute-Savoie. The hospital in Annecy being saturated, a case was transferred to Chambéry. François Daviet, the mayor of La Balme-de-Sillingy was also hospitalised.
A couple from Divonne-les-Bains were infected after a journey in Italy and hospitalised in neighbouring Switzerland on 29 February. On the same day, two other men from Ferney-Voltaire, one French national who works in Switzerland and one Italian national, were also hospitalised in the Helvetic Country.
On 2 March, a 89-year-old woman from Nyons was treated at Valréas hospital in the Enclave of the Popes in Vaucluse and tested COVID-19 positive. On the same day there were four new cases in Haute-Savoie.
On 2 March 10 cases were reported at the Dijon hospital. The first wave was reported on 27 February with cases related to the Oise cluster who subsequently infected their relatives. Five new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on 3 March. The 15 cases in the region received care at Dijon CHU. Four cases in Côte-d'Or had been in contact with someone who was already hospitalised, while another case in Saône-et-Loire was in Italy the previous week.
On 2 March 19 cases were reported in Brittany. Two were in the western city of Brest, an elderly person from Plougonvelin, returning from a trip from Egypt and his wife. There were also four cases in the capital of the region Rennes, a firefighter and his wife, and two people who had returned from Veneto. 13 others cases were reported in Morbihan, around a cluster of 6 in Crac'h, 3 in Auray, 3 in Carnac and 1 in Saint-Philibert.
On 2 March, it was announced that ten more people tested positive in the Grand Est, eight hospitalised in Strasbourg and three in Nancy. In Alsace, a Molsheim couple was hospitalised. The man had returned from Italy and was hospitalised first, followed by his wife. Four members of a family from Hésingue, a 27-year-old mother and her two children aged five and one, as well as one of the grandfathers, a 57-year-old man, were infected. Two others cases identified in the Bas-Rhin, a 49-year-old man and his 14-year-old son, had been in contact with a person from the Oise hospitalised in Amiens. Three family members were hospitalised in Nancy, a father and his son, aged 50 and 23, and the girl-friend of the 50-year-old patient, all from the department of Aisne.
As of 2 March 67 people were infected by COVID-19 in the Hauts-de-France region. This figure, the highest in France, was linked to a major cluster originating in the city of Creil, in the Oise, whose source remains unknown. The five departments of Hauts-de-France now each had at least one proven case of people infected by the coronavirus. In Aisne and Pas-de-Calais, spared by the epidemic until 1 March, the authorities confirmed the presence of patients with COVID-19, except the Nord where hospitalisations without local infections had taken place.
Some days before, on 26 February, a man died overnight after being rushed to a Paris hospital from Creil where he was hospitalised for 6 days in ICU in serious condition, bringing the total death toll in the country to two at that time. On 2 March, it was announced the second death in Hauts-de-France and the third at the national level, a woman of 89 "diagnosed post-mortem" at the hospital of Compiègne. She had other serious pre-existing conditions.
On 28 February, an infected person from the Val-d'Oise, returning from Italy was hospitalised in Bichat–Claude Bernard Hospital, Paris. He was working for an exterior employee of Charles de Gaulle Airport. On the same day, Hôpital Tenon, which had received a patient from the Oise before he had been diagnosed, announced that it had been directly affected by the coronavirus with three infected medical personnel.
On 27 February, a doctor from the Rouen University Hospital was declared a positive carrier of COVID-19 and was confined to his home, after a professional journey to Munich. A second case of coronavirus was confirmed in Normandy on 2 March. He is a French resident in Eure. He was hospitalised at the Rouen University Hospital.
After news of the first infected individuals in Europe had been released during the first wave of coronavirus in France, three new patients were declared COVID-19 positive in February a patient in Bordeaux, hospitalised at the Bordeaux University Hospital, returned from a stay in Italy in a city affected by coronavirus, a soldier from Rochefort, Charente-Maritime, who has had contacts with people from the Creil air base in the Oise, hospitalised in Poitiers, and a woman from Mont-de-Marsan was also in contact with grouped cases in Creil, hospitalised in Bordeaux.
Three cases were declared in Occitania in February. First, a man who was back from Italy was diagnosed on 27 February, followed by his wife one day later and a 41-year-old man who was recently in Emilia-Romagna. These cases were reported in the city of Montpellier. On 1 March, it was announced that the two children of the couple were hospitalised, but only one was COVID-19 positive.
On 2 March, two new cases were announced in Montpellier, a 31-year-old man and his 29-year-old wife, also back from Emilia-Romagna, bringing the total number to 6 cases. One day later, a new case was announced, a 70-year-old man who lives in the village of Boisset-et-Gaujac, in the Gard. He was hospitalised in Nîmes.
A 58-year-old woman, a general practitioner, tested positive for coronavirus and was hospitalised on 27 February at the Nantes University Hospital. This was the first confirmed case in the Pays de la Loire region. She lives near Compiègne, in the Oise department, where a dozen cases had already been identified. She received a consultation on 13 February with a patient who has since been hospitalised in Amiens in the intensive care unit.
On 2 March, four people were hospitalised at the Angers University Hospital for cases of coronavirus. The first case was detected on 28 February; a 27-year-old woman from the Sarthe declared herself to the SAMU centre 15 after a stay in Milan in Italy. Three other cases have since been detected in Mayenne and Maine-et-Loire. They were infected by a patient from Brest.
The first case of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region was announced on 28 February. A young woman from Cannes was infected after a journey in Milan. One day later three new cases were hospitalised, two French vacationers returned from a risk zone and an Italian tourist. Two new cases appeared during the weekend of 29 February and 1 March: a 15-year-old adolescent and a 23-year-old woman. On 2 March, a seventh case was announced, a 3-year-old girl.
On 22 March the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture issued a decree putting into place a curfew from 10 pm to 5 am affecting cities of more than 10,000 residents and all towns on the Mediterranean coast until 31 March 2020. This replaced local measures which had already been taken in Nice, Béziers, and Cannes.
As of 19 March, there have been two cases in New Caledonia.
On 28 February, the fashion designer agnès b. (not to be confused with Agnès Buzyn) cancelled fashion shows in Paris Fashion Week, which had been scheduled to run until 3 March. The following day, the Paris half marathon scheduled for Sunday 1 March with 44,000 participants was cancelled as one of a number of measures announced by health minister Olivier Véran.
On 14 March, many cultural institutions announced their closure. These are mainly Parisian institutions or institutions in the Paris region, such as Louvre, Centre Georges Pompidou, Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay, or Château de Versailles, but also institutions in the provinces such as Château de Montsoreau – Museum of Contemporary Art, CAPC – Musée d'Art Contemporain de Bordeaux, MUCEM in Marseille.
As of 23 March 2020, all people are required to complete and carry an attestation form to leave their homes and can be fined for non-essential journeys. Essential journeys include shopping for food, travelling to work, accessing healthcare, and exercising within 1km of the household.
On 29 February 2020, Monaco announced the first COVID-19 case, a man who was admitted at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, then transferred to Nice University Hospital in France. On the other side, three French nationals and one Italian resident from the department of Ain were diagnosed positive and hospitalised in Lausanne or other places in Switzerland.
One fifth of all surgical procedures in the EU use personal protective equipment manufactured in Asia by the Swedish company Mölnlycke. The company's main distribution warehouse for southern Europe is in Lyon. Mölnlycke's entire stock of an estimated six million masks was seized by the French government, despite it having already been promised to other EU governments, causing a diplomatic incident which resulted in Swedish representations at the highest level in the EU.[clarification needed] Mölnlycke responded to a second attempted seizure by French officials by refusing to land any further product and rerouting deliveries to other ports in Europe. Currently Mölnlycke will no longer land PPE destined for other EU countries in France as the French government are no longer considered reliable.
On 17 March 2020, Didier Raoult of the Mediterranean infectious and tropical disease institute in Marseille announced in a YouTube video entitled “Coronavirus: endgame!” that a trial by his team involving 24 patients supported the claim that hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin were effective in treating COVID-19. The design of the study as well as its conclusions are controversial and generally viewed as flawed and inconclusive. Raoult has nevertheless offered testing of potential sufferers at his institute and prescription of hydroxychloroquine to those who tested positive. The French Health Minister, Olivier Véran, announced that "new tests will now go ahead in order to evaluate the results of Raoult, to independently replicate the trials and ensure the findings are scientifically robust, before any possible decision might be made to roll any treatment out to the wider public". On 30 March, hospitals reported two dozen cases – and three deaths – of individuals who were suspected of self-medication with Plaquénil – branded name for Chloroquine – drug safety agency (ANSM) warned against potentially fatal side effects, notably cardiac arrhythmia and heart attack. The agency cautioned against use outside of hospitals, clinical trials, and stepped up surveillance.
On 22 March 2020, Switzerland announced that three hospitals near the Alsace region have agreed to take in any French-based patients after Alsace officials made a request for assistance. Patients from Grand Est were also taken into hospitals in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland and Hesse in Germany.
(Source: official daily statistics from Minister of Health )
|Region||Département||Number of cases||Hospitalised||ICU||Recovered||Dead|
|Auvergne – Rhône Alpes||Ain||2,093||49||9||17||2|
|Bourgogne – Franche-Comté||Côte-d'Or||1,569||170||42||138||34|
|Centre-Val de Loire||Cher||645||12||4||3||2|
|Pays de la Loire||Loire-Atlantique||368||128||33||33||12|
|Subtotal France Métropolitaine||25,029||17,019||4,123||6,181||2,221|
|Subtotal Overseas France||364||4||2|
Apart from the Petite couronne, cases have been detected either by a late discovery or by a local infection in the following departments: Gironde, Haute-Savoie, Bas-Rhin, Val-d'Oise, Hérault, Finistère, Lyon Metropolis, Côte-d'Or, Alpes-Maritimes, Seine-Maritime, Loire-Atlantique, Ain, Landes, Charente-Maritime, Mayenne, Ille-et-Vilaine, Morbihan, Haut-Rhin, Eure, Sarthe, Gard, Drôme, Saône-et-Loire, all the departments of the region Hauts-de-France, except the Nord, and in the overseas territories of Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin.
|Source: ARS / Santé Publique France / Ministère des Solidarités/Santé|
Simulation studies helped convince the government that taking no action would result in large numbers of civilian casualties. In such a case between 30,000 and 100,000 more ICU beds would be required in the hospitals. In France there are 5,000 réanimation beds and 7,364 ICU beds. This simulation was provided by Neil Ferguson, epidemiologist at the Imperial College London.