Covid 19: What to do if you think you are infected

The Health Ministry has issued its updated advice

2 March 2020

The French Ministry of Health issues regularly updated advice on coronavirus (Covid-19) for residents and visitors to France.

The virus has a 14-day incubation period, so anyone who has recently returned from one of the infected zones - such as northern Italy, China or South Korea - has been asked follow these steps for two weeks

  • Monitor your temperature twice a day
  • Watch for symptoms of respiratory infection (such as a cough, or difficulty breathing)
  • Wear a surgical mask when you are in front of another person, and when you have to go out (which is not banned). There is no reason to wear a mask if you are not unwell, officials have said
  • Wash your hands regularly or use a sanitiser gel
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people (pregnant women, those with ongoing health problems, the elderly)
  • Avoid going to places where vulnerable people are present (hospitals, maternity wards, old people's homes)
  • Avoid non-essential outings (large gatherings, restaurants, cinema)
  • Workers/Students: as far as possible, choose home working and avoid close contact (such as meetings)
  • Children should not be sent to school or nursery

Read more: Simple hygiene rules to follow to reduce your risk of catching Covid-19

Anyone who develops any symptoms during the 14-day isolation period, should call the ambulance - the number is 15 - and tell the operator it is a suspected case of coronavirus.

DO NOT go to hospital or the doctor's surgery. Authorities are worried about the potential spread of the virus.

Read more: Covid-19 in France: Events cancelled and schools shut

According to the World Health Organisation, 80% of those who catch the virus have only mild symptoms - similar to a bad cold or flu. Severe symptoms, including pneumonia, develop among 15% of patients, while 5% turn out to be critical.

The majority of the people who have died so far have been elderly or have underlying health conditions.

French authorities are expecting an epidemic  - so far 130 cases of coronavirus have been reported, with two fatalities.

In comparison, since the start of the seasonal flu season, in November, 500 have been hospitalised with severe symptoms and 44 people have died.

Read more: Covid-19 in France: ‘Much bigger impact’ than thought

Stay informed:
Sign up to our free weekly e-newsletter
Subscribe to access all our online articles and receive our printed monthly newspaper The Connexion at your home. News analysis, features and practical help for English-speakers in France

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
Brexit and Beyond for Britons in France*
Featured Help Guide
What the Brexit deal means for UK residents of France, second homeowners and visitors in 2021 and after
Get news, views and information from France