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Covid-19 in France: Transport gradually reduced

Long-distance transport (trains, buses, planes) will be "gradually reduced" as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, transport minister Elisabeth Borne has announced this morning (Sunday, March 15).

Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, secretary of state for transport, said: "There will be around 80% (as of Monday) of traffic on the metro. Buses and trams will be running normally. For the [national train company] SNCF, on Monday, about 7 trains out of 10 will be running, including TGV, TER, and Transilien."

On the eve of the first Monday of school closures in the face of the Covid-19 national epidemic, the French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer told news source FranceInfo: "We are ready, all the instructions have been passed - we should not consider ourselves as being 'on holiday'."

He asked pupils to work from home, and said that many schools would be offering distance learning classes. Support is being put in place for parents who will now need to stay off work to look after children, and for workers who are unable to stay at home, especially healthcare front line staff.

Mr Blanquer added that the virus was still at a serious stage, and warned people to take the recommendations seriously. He said: "We know that it [the virus] will probably pass through more than half of us."

The French government has issued health advice to help stop the virus from spreading.

This advice includes:
  • Keep a 1 metre distance between yourself and others.
  • Wash your hands with soap or hydro-alcoholic sanitiser gel frequently.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.
  • Use single use tissues and dispose immediately after use.
  • Do not shake hands, or greet people with kisses on the cheek.
  • If you are sick, stay at home and wear a mask in the company of others.

If you believe you are sick, do not go to the hospital or visit your local doctor as you may infect others. Instead call your local doctor and take paracetamol for the fever. Do not take anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or cortisone to treat the possible symptoms of Covid-19 as these could actually worsen the infection.

If you have returned from a high risk area, including China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao); Singapore, South Korea, Iran or the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy, and present symptoms of respiratory infection such as fever, cough, difficulty breathing within 14 days of your return, call the SAMU emergency number, 15. Do not go to your local hospital or doctor.

A free hotline service can answer your questions about the coronavirus Covid-19 non-stop, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 0800 130 000. It cannot give medical advice.

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