France calls for stricter social distancing in 'shock' ad

Doctors in France have called for a ban on social gatherings, as the government releases a “shock” advertisement illustrating the risk of infecting older relatives.

14 September 2020
By Joanna York

Six high profile doctors have called for a ban on private gatherings in France. This comes as Covid-19 cases continue to rise. 

On Sunday September 12, 10,561 cases of Covid-19 were reported in France in the previous 24 hours. This marks the first time daily cases have topped 10,000 in France since the start of the health crisis. 

Read more: France Covid-19 Update: Daily cases top 10,000

Doctors recommend restricting social gatherings 

In an article published in news source Le Journal du Dimanchethe six doctors wrote that when it comes to Covid-19 in France, “playtime is over”.

The doctors, represented by Dr Jimmy Mohamed, continued: “We are in a new stage of the epidemic. It is spreading. There probably isn’t much time left to act collectively.”

“After the joy of reunions over summer, it’s time to be careful about what we do in our private lives. As the epidemic progresses, the probability of getting contaminated in enclosed spaces rises." 

The signatories of the letter cited measures taken in Birmingham in the UK, where the mayor has recently banned people who are not from the same household, or support bubble, from meeting indoors or in private gardens. 

Although the doctors in France acknowledged they did not have the authority to enforce a ban, they urged readers to avoid all social gatherings. 

They wrote: “Avoid private gatherings as much as possible. The smaller a space is, and the more people there are, the less it is aerated and the higher the risk. Reduce the amount of people present at private gatherings. If possible, postpone all gatherings.”

Cosignatories of the letter included public health professor and founder of the Alzheimer’s Foundation, Dr Philippe Amouyel; infection specialist Dr Anne-Claude Crémieux; nephrologist Dr Gilbert Deray; geneticist and president of la Ligue Contre le Cancer, Dr Axel Kahn; and head of intensive care at Lariboisière hospital, Dr Bruno Megarbane.  


Government releases ‘shock’ reminder

Meanwhile, the French government has released a short video reminding people in France about the importance of social distancing measures.

Minister for citizenship Marlène Schiappa described the video as a “shock” advertisement, intended to remind people in France of their individual responsibility for stopping the spread of Covid-19 through social distancing.

In the clip, characters are seen hugging and kissing friends and colleagues on the cheek in different scenarios before gathering to celebrate an older relative’s birthday. The video then cuts to three weeks later, with the elder relative seriously ill in intensive care.

The ministry for health tweeted the video with the message: “Failure to respect social distancing measures means taking risks for you and the people you’re close to. We can all be affected. So, we must protect each other.”

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