Since the evening of Saturday, March 14, nurseries, schools, colleges, high schools and universities are almost all closed, probably for a month and a half, until the end of the April-May vacation. Due to the spread of the coronavirus epidemic, the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, decided to protect the youngest and their teachers as soon as possible. A decision of common sense, well received by teachers on the front line facing possible contamination.
This unprecedented situation worries high school students who have to pass the exams in June. Will it be postponed? For the moment, the minister is excluding it. On the student side, work at home should also be favoured.
Unfortunately the next day, it was obvious that the importance of quarantine was not understood by a large part of the population. Surrealistic scenes of crowds of people picnicking at the parks in the sunshine took place. Some bars and restaurants refused to close and some people, not wanting to restrict their freedom to protect others, continued to party in the streets.
A great wave of panic also occurred, as in many other countries, as a result of fear of the shortage. There were scenes of violence in the supermarkets, as well as numerous thefts, including medical equipment. Faced with such unconscious and dangerous behaviour, the government took drastic measures to reassure the population.
Strengthening of containment measures
On March 16th, Emmanuel Macron announced new measures to minimize contact and travel. A containment system is in place throughout the territory from Tuesday, March 17 at 12:00 p.m., for a minimum of fifteen days. Travel is prohibited except in the following cases and only if you have a certificate for:
- Move from home to work when work at home is not possible;
- Make essential purchases in authorized local shops (i.e pharmacy and supermarket);
- Go to a health professional;
- Travel to take care of your children or to help vulnerable people with the strict condition of respecting barrier gestures;
- Exercise only on an individual basis, around the home and without any gathering.
A fine of 135 euros is now applicable for lack of a valid certificate. The certificate is not valid on a smartphone, it must be printed or reproduced on free paper. If you cannot print the paper, a simple handwritten certificate from your hand is enough. One can question the effectiveness of such a law. Indeed, it is more than easy to pretend that you are going shopping when in fact you are visiting your friend. Nevertheless, great confidence is placed in the collective effort. Thanks to those measures, the streets are now empty. However, the capital is still highly occupied.
A solidarity that boosts the mood
Among that kind of bad behaviour, solidarity actions have been put in place. First of all, it was proposed that each evening at 8 p.m., each inhabitant stands at his window and applause, in support of the medical staff who sweat blood and water every day, far from their loved ones and exposed to the virus. So we had the right every evening to very moving scenes of collective joy at the windows. Something to relax our minds.
In addition to that, the Canal + cinema channel, which normally requires a paid subscription, went unencrypted. Everyone can, therefore, benefit from their program. Some factories which have now been shut down have also been requisitioned for the manufacture of protective masks, making it possible to eliminate the shortage. Last but not least, the association AP-HP (Public Assistance – Paris Hospitals) has raised 50,000 euros (around 61 500 kroner) of funds in 48 hours, intending to help medical staff and obtain new medical equipment.
On March 19, 2020, the death toll in France amounted to 372 deaths and 4,761 people hospitalized. Around the world, states continue to close their borders and adopt more or less strict containment measures, and the speed of events made difficult to predict future events.
It is good to remember that to avoid the implementation of more strict confinement, it is necessary to respect the measures already implemented. It is disobedience to its measures that makes it necessary to strengthen them. Let us stand together in these difficult times, and do not take reckless risks for ourselves or for others. Stay home!