A few days after a stay in Wuhan, the French citizen presented with respiratory symptoms. He was taken into care in an infectious diseases department, passed a battery of examinations and was placed in solitary confinement. But virological tests have spoken: they are negative for the coronavirus, the virus that has been raging in China since the end of December. Since then, the patient has returned home and the authorities, they say: “there is no case in France. "
They said it with one voice this Tuesday evening during a press conference organized at the Ministry of Health to make a "point of stage" on this "2019 - nCoV", nickname given to the virus which worries the worldwide, with 291 confirmed cases, six deaths, and cases exported notably to Japan and South Korea. US health officials also announced Tuesday the hospitalization of a man in his thirties in Everett, near Seattle, after contracting the Chinese coronavirus.
Posters in Roissy
"We are at the beginning of the epidemic, the situation is very changing," concedes Agnès Buzyn. Micro in hand, the Minister of Health ensures: “The risk of introduction ( Editor's note: of the virus ) in France is low but it cannot be excluded. Hence the dissemination of precautionary messages on direct planes to Wuhan, an agglomeration of eleven million inhabitants located in central China and the epicenter of the epidemic.
Posters were also displayed at Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle airport. However, as it stands, no border controls are envisaged, unlike the United States which has implemented travelers' temperature checks at its airports in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. "We comply with the recommendations of the WHO," decide the French authorities while an emergency meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at the World Health Organization.
In France, the system is "running in"
But above all, the Minister, the Director General of Health, an expert from Public Health France and a doctor of international renown wanted this Tuesday evening to reassure on the capacities of the Hexagon to face possible cases which would be confirmed in the country.
"The system is well established," says Professor Yazdan Yazdanpanah, head of the infectious diseases department at the Parisian hospital Bichat. On an individual basis, any person for whom a doubt hangs would be placed in isolation with a daily follow-up of fourteen days, while, on the epidemiological level, the persons who came into contact with it would be listed. "We will communicate transparently, if a case is proven," promises Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health.
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Because it is now accepted that it is transmitted from human to human, the best way to protect oneself in the event of travel remains the traditional barrier measures: wearing a mask on the face and regular hand washing, with soap. For the rest, little is known about this new coronavirus, a cousin of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), which seems to spare children.
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Neither its lethality, nor its target population, nor its source (an animal, but which one?) Is unknown, leaving a vast field of research open. A red tie and a serious air, Jérôme Salomon, an infectious disease specialist, summed up: “An epidemic is like a fire. To control it well, you need to know its source, its ability to spread and its severity. "