Long waits for covid tests cause tension in France

France is now testing over 1 million people per week for Covid-19, but around the country there are reports of long waits and rising tensions between medical staff and patients.

5 September 2020
Some people have reported waits of up to four or five hours to get tested for coronavirus
By Connexion journalist

France carried out 1,029,275 tests for coronavirus over the past week, the health ministry (Ministère des Solidarités et de la Santé) reported. This is in line with a target set by Prime Minister Jean Castex in August. 

But around the country, medical staff and patients alike are reporting frustration over long waiting times and impolite behaviour. 

“People lack understanding,” Marie, a nurse at a laboratory that carries out Covid-19 tests in the 14th district of Paris, told France Info. 

“They wait outside and think about their situation, which is painful. Some are sick and there are pregnant women and they have to wait three quarters of an hour or an hour outside,” she said. 

“Once people are with us, they totally unleash, it's all: 'I don't understand this situation, it's unacceptable! What are you doing?'" she added.  

Other people have taken to Twitter to report on long queues at mobile testing units.  

France’s coronavirus cases increase

There have been 8,975 new cases of Covid-19 in France in the past 24 hours, the health ministry reported on Friday (September 4) in its daily coronavirus update. It takes France’s total number of cases since the beginning of the pandemic to 309,156. 

292 more people have been hospitalised for the virus, and 46 people have been placed in intensive care. 

The increased number of tests does not entirely explain the increase in the number of people getting coronavirus, government agency Santé Publique France stated.

“Since the beginning of July, the number of patients being tested has been multiplied by a little over two, while the number of cases has multiplied by 12,” the agency reported in a daily update on Friday.  

Read more about tests in France: 

France targets 1 million covid tests: what to do if positive

Five-hour wait for Covid tests as France targets 1m per week

Coronavirus tests in France: long queues and two-week waits

Get news, views and information from France