Coronavirus: ‘Listen, stop going out. Stay at home,’ says French doctor

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French people should stay at home as the coronavirus situation deteriorates in Paris, warned the head of one of the capital’s main hospitals Saturday night.

There has been a 20 percent increase in the number of patients admitted to the European Hospital Georges-Pompidou in the last 24 hours, with 35 percent more patients on ventilators, said the hospital’s head of emergency services Philippe Juvin to French media outlet BFMTV.

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“The situation is graver than you can imagine ... They walk in speaking, two hours later, they’re asphyxiated,” said Juvin.

France is one of the worst hit countries in Europe with over 14,400 confirmed cases and 562 deaths from the coronavirus pandemic. Yesterday alone, the country reported 112 new deaths.

Read more: Containment has failed. What is next for coronavirus?

This outbreak is straining the country’s healthcare system. According to the health ministry, 1,525 people are in critical condition out of the 6,172 currently hospitalized.

The country has 6.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people according to 2013 World Bank data.

“Stay at home,” says Juvin, as helicopters control movement

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron ordered new restrictions on people’s movement to help slow the spread of the virus and said the army would help move the sick to hospitals.

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Juvin implored those living in France to follow the rules and stay home to try and stop the spread of the virus.

“Listen, stop going out. Stay at home. Don’t take the risk,” Juvin told BFMTV. “You’ve seen the films, and read the fiction books. We are seeing something no one could’ve foreseen.”

Currently, there are around 100,000 police and gendarmes, or paramilitary forces, deployed across the country to enforce the new protocols.

The country went on lockdown on March 17. The only permitted activities are shopping for necessities, going to work, or seeking medical treatment. France had previously shut down restaurants and bars, schools, and ski resorts. The country has also reduced long-distance train, bus, and air travel.

Now, the country is using helicopters and drones to police movement in the country. A siren is sounded when the drone spots a crowd, and a warning is issued.

On the same day of the president’s address, the head of health services in the country said the situation was very worrying.

“The number of cases double every three days,” Jerome Salomon said on France Inter, adding that the number of seriously ill patients and those needing intensive care “runs into hundreds,” AFP reported.

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