France records more than 10,000 deaths at Covid-19 and Paris bans daytime jogging | New Straits Times

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PARIS: Paris on Tuesday banned daytime jogging to prevent people from circumventing anti-coronavirus lockdown rules while France violated 10,000 deaths due to the epidemic.

Other cities also announced tighter restrictions, some controversial, on the day senior health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that 10,328 people had died of COVID-19 in France since March 1.

Among them, 7,091 died in hospitals – 597 in the past 24 hours – and 3,237 in retirement homes, said Salomon, warning that “the epidemic is continuing to escalate.”

“We are in the ascending phase of the epidemic, even if it is slowing down a bit,” he said, adding “we have not yet reached the peak.”

Senior government officials have warned that it is too early to think of lifting the national lockdown that came into effect on March 17 and is expected to continue until April 15.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has urged municipal authorities to tighten traffic restrictions if necessary, and Paris has announced that it will apply a ban on individual outdoor sports between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. starting Wednesday.

This photo taken on April 7, 2020 shows the Pont d'Iéna and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the 22nd day of a lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the new coronavirus. - AFP peak
This photo taken on April 7, 2020 shows the Pont d’Iéna and the Eiffel Tower in Paris on the 22nd day of a lockdown in France to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the new coronavirus. – AFP peak

Under national ordinances, people can only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as a solo walk or a run within one kilometer (0.6 mile) of their home.

But in the middle of sunny spring weather, large groups of Parisians were seen running, walking and gathering over the weekend, even as police intensified patrols and hospitals were already overwhelmed with an influx of patients.

“Each excursion avoided contributes to the fight against the epidemic,” Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo and police chief Didier Lallement said on Tuesday in a statement announcing the partial ban on jogging.

Paris and other cities have already closed public parks and gardens as part of the national closure which requires people to carry a document justifying any excursion outside the home.

Those caught without the document risk a fine from 135 euros ($ 147).

In the north of France, the mayor of Marcq-en-Baroeul had spit in public, coughed or sneezed without covering his face, and threw used masks and gloves on the street, liable to a fine of 68 euros.

But the French Human Rights League said on Tuesday that it would bring the mayor to justice for what he considered a violation of basic human freedoms.

And the seaside town on the Atlantic coast of Biarritz on Tuesday overturned a two-minute limit it set for people to sit on the public benches after much criticism.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has declared to Parliament that “the period of detention will continue”.

Locking out “is difficult for many French people, I am fully aware of this. But it is essential if we do not want to find ourselves in an even worse situation than the one we know today, “he said.

On April 7, 2020, nurses use medical equipment to treat patients infected with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit of the Peupliers private hospital in Paris. - AFP pic
On April 7, 2020, nurses used medical equipment to treat patients infected with COVID-19 in the intensive care unit of the Peupliers private hospital in Paris. – AFP pic

Like many other countries, France also debated on Tuesday the merits of encouraging or even compelling people to wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.

Health Minister Olivier Veran told lawmakers that this remains an “open question” that requires further scientific investigation.

The French Academy of Medicine, which advises the government on epidemics, has advocated wearing a mask as an aid to stem the epidemic, but international organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO) are not Okay.

WHO said on Monday that asking the general public to wear face masks may be justified in areas where hand washing and physical removal were difficult, but warned that masks alone could not stop the pandemic.

The French Order of Pharmacists and two unions urged the government on Tuesday to allow pharmacies to sell “non-medical” quality masks to members of the public as additional protection.

France also announced that anyone wishing to enter the country from Wednesday would need a special “travel certificate” as part of an extension of the lockdown measures. – AFP

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