CÔTE D'AZUR & PROVENCE
After the first week of lockdown, there are new rules and tighter restrictions across the PACA region, including the closure of all coastline and beaches and a new nightly curfew. A new (old) drug trial has launched at the CHU de Nice, where they will be testing chloroquine in its ability to shorten and lesson Coronavirus symptoms.
As of Sunday 22 March, the numbers of Coronavirus confirmations in the PACA region has expected risen, with the following overall numbers:
-1316 people tested positive (194 in the Alpes-Maritimes, 186 in the Var) and among these, 85 are in intensive care and 19 have died. Today also saw the first death of a hospital worker in France from Covid-19 in Compiègne.
The region has 450 beds for adults in intensive care units in 35 public and private hospitals. The number could easily be doubled to 980, according to the Agence Régionale de Santé, and in a second phase, if necessary, by another 200. Cities such as Cannes and Mandelieu-La-Napoule have already offered to make congress centres like the Palais des Festivals available to host emergency wards if necessary.
Hospitals are appealing for the continued need for blood donation despite the current epidemic. Therefore, it remains possible to visit appropriate mobile or fixed blood donation facilities under the guise of medical reason. Information is available at www.dondesang.efs.sante.fr.
Tightened restrictions and new curfew
Due to many people not taking the quarantine seriously and continuing to jog, walk and cycle about, Nice mayor, Christian Estrosi, closed the five-kilometre-long Promenade des Anglais along the shore for walkers, joggers and cyclists from Friday at 2 pm, in addition to all the beaches. The decision was quickly applied to the entire Alps-Maritimes and the Var. Further measures with the enactment of a strict curfew from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday night, 20 March. This also requires all grocery and food dispensing business to close by 9:30 pm. This is currently in effect until 31 March.
Mayor Estrosi tested positive for Covid-19 last week and has continued to govern from his home, where he been actively posting on social media about his health. So far, he has had mild symptoms and said to be following the ‘protocol’ of the Nice University Hospital (CHU).
Part of this protocol will include the trial of the chloroquine drug treatment that has shown promising results in a trial conducted by Professor Didier Raoult, at the IHU Mediterranean, in Marseille. An old remedy for Malaria, chloroquine has shown to significantly reduce the duration of the virus and lessen the severity of the symptoms. Derived from the 'Fever tree,' quinine was the go-to treatment for malaria half a century ago and is also the original key ingredient in tonic water. The concentrated quinine drug is inexpensive and readily available.
Another trial has now been approved across several teaching hospitals in France, including the CHU de Nice. This trial will be testing several drugs, including Kaletra, an anti-HIV drug (both alone and with interferon beta) and Remdesivir, an anti-viral developed to fight Ebola.
CHU Nice is also calling for extra nurses. Applicants can contact: email@example.com
After the announcement, several patients throughout the region began demanding treatment with chloroquine at their hospital, in particular Hôpital Simone de Veille in Cannes. Mayor David Lisnard issued a letter to the Minister of Health requesting the treatment be allowed in his and other hospitals so that more patients could benefit from the treatment.
Prince Albert II of Monaco also tested positive for the virus, being the first reigning sovereign to become infected. He is, of course, being cared for quite closely and has reassured the public that he is doing ok. Following his diagnosis, the Monegasque government tightened several rules, including the closings of markets and initiating a similar curfew.
Changes are happening regularly with government restrictions and requirements. To keep up on the latest, make sure to visit the www.gouvernement.fr website and follow their Facebook page: gouvernement.fr
If you feel that you have the symptoms (cough and fever) of Covid-19, stay home and ring your GP. They can do a 'televisite'. If your symptoms worsen and you have a hard time breathing, call emergency at 15.