France now has 1,331 fatal cases of Covid-19 in its hospitals, an increase of 231 in 24 hours. The number of people in intensive care rose from 2,516 to 2,827. “We are only at the beginning of the crisis,” warned the Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe. President Macron speaks to the nation from the heart of the worst hit city.
A New Attestation
It’s most likely the lockdown will go through April 28th now. And there’s a new attestation with additional boxes to check and a specific spot for the time of day that you leave your home: download it here. If you already printed out a bunch of the old ones, you can still use them (for now) as long as you add the time next to the date.
President Macron gave another televised speech to the nation from military field hospital in Mulhouse, the eastern French city hardest hit by the Coronavirus, announcing a new military operation “to provide assistance to the population and support public services”.
Some of the highlights from his speech (sorry if the translation isn’t perfect, you can watch the original in French here):
- “I want to salute the memory of the caregivers who paid with their lives, for their commitment to save other lives.” He announced increased overtime hours and an exceptional financial bonus for all the healthcare workers and civil servants mobilized against the virus.He justified his financial gesture by the need to go beyond messages of sympathy. “In this war, all of our caregivers are on the front line.” The president repeatedly thanked France’s caregivers, whose “eyes show their fatigue and anxiety”.
- France is using specially-equipped TGV trains to transfer patients from overcrowded hospitals in Eastern France to other hospitals in western France. “We have implemented a unique method in this region which will be replicated everywhere.”
- The military operation will be called Resilience, to take direct action “in the health, logistics and protection fields”. Two helicopter carriers will be deployedin the south Indian Ocean near the French islands of Mayotte and Reunion, and inthe French Antilles Guyana region”. “All the State services are mobilized, our police, our gendarmes, our customs officers, all our civil servants, our teachers …also to whom I want to thank.” He promised “a massive investment and upgrade plan” for hospitals at the end of the crisis.
- Macron also gave a shoutout to the“more than 100,000 of you who signed up for the volunteer Civic Reserves platform to provide help in the midst of this crisis. It is this fraternal France that will allow us to hold on and to overcome.” You can check out the specially dedicated civic volunteer platform here, or if you’re looking for volunteer opportunities in English, check here.
The Church Bells
Tonight at 7:30pm, a half hour before the nightly applause in support of healthcare workers, church bells rang out all over France for ten full minutes. But it’s not just for the Catholic holiday of Annunciation. The Conference of French Bishops (CEF) announced the ringing “Not to call the faithful to church, but to demonstrate our brotherhood and our common hope” in the face of the Coronavirus epidemic. You might also see lit candles placed in windows. Listen here.
Latest Transportation Updates
If you have to use the metro to get to work, you should know the RATP will be closing about 50 metro stations starting Thursday, and reduced traffic on all lines. Check in advance if your line is running before heading out. Orly Airport will be closed starting March 31st, with the remaining few flights redirected to Roissy.
Stay healthy, stay inside! – Heather