COVID-19 Vendée

On August 12th the new French Prime Minister will be announcing stricter measures in the battle against Covid-19, as the spreading of the disease has become increasingly worse and the number of cases has doubled within a week's time. Masks must be worn in indoor public spaces, or risk a fine of 135 euros for failure to comply. Covid-19 is not on vacation. We must remain vigilant. In many cities across France the wearing of a mask in public has become compulsory. More are to be added.

Those of us who live in France have been recommended to vacation on home-soil this summer rather than traveling abroad. The borders to outside Europe remain firmly closed to some countries (including the United States). They were only opened to countries where the Covid-19 health situation is under control.

FROM 20th july
  • masks must be worn in indoor public spaces, now in addition to public transportation where wearing a mask was already compulsory
  • this applies to shopping at supermarkets, covered fresh produce markets, banks and other administrative establishments open to the public
  • fine for failure to comply is 135 euros
  • NEW from August 1st: some cities including nearby La Rochelle demand the wearing of a mask from age 11 (UPDATE 12/8/2020: more cities across France to be announced. Now includes Paris)
  • The stadiums, performance halls and racecourses will be open to the public from 11 July, with a maximum admission of 5,000 people: applies until 1 September unless the situation worsens again. (UPDATE 12/8/2020: extended until 31/10/2020)
FROM 11TH JULY
  • end of the state of health in metropolitan territory, which means:
    • River cruises are allowed again;
    • a decision will then be taken, in consultation with the European partners, on the resumption of sea cruises between European ports (only for vessels whose capacity does not exceed a limit set by ministerial decree)
    • The stadiums, performance halls and racecourses will be open to the public from 11 July, with a maximum admission of 5,000 people: applies until 1 September unless the situation worsens again. (UPDATE 12/8/2020: extended until 31/10/2020)
    • Activities involving more than 1,500 persons must be declared so that the necessary precautions can be taken;
    • A re-evaluation of the national epidemiological situation will be carried out in mid-July to decide whether a relaxation is possible for the second part of August.
Travelers 

**ALERT: from 1 August, travellers returning to Belgium must fill in a form 48 hours in advance via the website of the FOD Foreign Affairs. The form is (24 July not yet live) More information (Dutch) and French -- due to high numbers in Mayenne, 2 week quarantine is mandatory upon return to Belgium - this for all those who happen to day-trip up north in Pays de la Loire in that region.
**For the people traveling from French territory to other European countries there may be travel restrictions e.g. Greece mandates Covid-19 tests upon entering the country with 24hr mandatory quarantine or until results are in and negative. When traveling to other countries from France, verify protocols on respective government websites
**EUROTUNNEL travellers please read and there is a mandatory form to fill out 
**The use of face-masks is highly recommended, also in gas/petrol stations on the main auto routes, but in some shops as well as to enter and exit restaurants is mandatory.
**Travelers advice on the French diplomacy website
**Opening of Schengen borders will be carried out gradually and according to the health situation of the different third countries, and in accordance with the procedures which will have been adopted at European level by then.
**International students at university level will be allowed whatever their country of origin, with proper arrangements put in place for their reception. Their visa and residence permit requests will be given priority.

Vendée department situation:
  • Corona virus statistics in Vendée - Situation report from 11th August (source)
    • 292 active confirmed cases  (+ 13 from August 7th)
    • 9 Current hospitalizations
    • 1 currently in intensive care
    • 273 total have healed
    • 42 people have died
  • The Pays de la Loire region has activated a new telephone number (toll-free) 0 800 100 200 and email address 
    actioneco-coronavirus@paysdelaloire.fr
  • LE PUY DU FOU: read their Covid-19 press release and Guest FAQ here.
  • Leisure and culture:
    access to beaches, bodies of water and lakes, resuming water sports and boating activities: note that the prefect may make it mandatory to wear a mask
  • Bars, cafes and restaurants are subject to the following health rules:
    • wearing a mandatory mask for any movement within the establishment (entry, exit, table setting, payment, toilets)
    • minimization of trips within the establishment
    • no standing (seated only)
    • minimum distance of 1 meter between each table (except in the presence of a partition wall)
    • minimum distance of 1 meter between client and server (except in the case where a partition wall is installed)
    • respect for the established traffic direction to prevent people from crossing paths
    • 10 people maximum per table
  • Shopping centers
    • The wearing of the mask is recommended there when the distancing measures cannot be guaranteed, and a merchant can impose the wearing of a mask.
  • All official measures and announcements in the prefecture here (to read in English, right click on the page and click "translate to English" in the Google pop-up box.)
  • NEW from August 1st: Sables d'Olonne city beach is closed at high-tide due to lack of space to accommodate crowds while social distancing. Mask wearing is also compulsory
GOVERNMENT MEASURES IN THE FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

Protection
Science shows that the wearing of masks is preferable for slowing the spread of the disease. Having masks available for employees will be a requirement of reopening. It will be required to wear masks in public as well, and anywhere social distancing is not possible. The vulnerable will receive masks distributed by the post office or through associations. Pharmacies will sell both disposable and washable masks. Social distancing, rigorous hygiene, and discipline remain necessary. 

Testing
Everybody displaying symptoms will be tested

Isolation is a civic duty
Controls will be put in place for those who test positive but the Prime Minister pleaded to the French public and residents to adhere to government guidelines as follows:

  • to ensure self-isolation (this can happen at home with the entire family) OR in requisitioned hotels to self-isolate away from the family
  • to work with the entities like doctors, nurses, or a special task force that will follow up to ensure testing of all people the person who tested positive was in contact with
  • The app to track the disease raises legitimate questions of privacy and security but it is available form June 2nd. It is NOT mandatory to participate
Situation in France

The number of corona virus patients in France rose to 201 990 (12/08/2020 - AM). Since 1 March 2020, a total of 30 324 (awaiting update 12/8) patients have died from the disease in France.

Situation worldwide

Worldwide, there are 19 936 210 cases (as of 11th August 2020) with 732 499 reported deaths.

    What is the Coronavirus?

    In humans, coronaviruses cause mild forms of respiratory tract infections, but strains like SARSMERS, and COVID-19 can be deadly. Symptoms include fever and breathing issues. For now, there are no announcements of vaccines or medication that can either prevent or treat the virus. It is said that the illness feels less severe or painful than the common flu. Patients with a compromised immune system, people over 80 years old and people with heart issues are particularly at risk to contract the virus.

    Where does the name come from?

    According to Wikipedia: "the name is derived from the Latin corona, meaning "crown" or "halo", which refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virions): they have a fringe reminiscent of a crown or of a solar corona."

    What are the symptoms?

    Please consult the World Health Organisation's Q & A page  for all of your questions, concerns and the very latest updates. Symptoms include fatigue, fever, loss of sense of taste and smell, and dry cough. People with high blood pressure, diabetes or heart issues are at higher risk. The incubation period is 1-14 days, but five days seems to be the most common.

      What to do in case of symptoms?
      • The government of France has activated a 24/7 toll-free number for your questions about the Coronavirus COVID-19 : 0 800 130 000. (not to be used for medical advice)
      • If you present signs of respiratory infections within 14 days of your return from China (mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao), Singapore, South Korea, Iran or the Lombardy and Veneto regions of Italy, please dial the number 15 on your telephone
      • If you are on holiday and suspect the illness, please contact your local embassy or consulate.

        ALERT!

        Through its website, the World Health Organization or WHO reports that a scam has been started regarding the coronavirus. They report that:

        "Criminals disguise themselves as WHO to steal money or sensitive information." 
        Criminals appear to contact us via email, websites, telephone, mobile phone, and also via fax.

        Read the WHO message. It provides information on how to avoid "phishing" (as it is called in cyber-security jargon).

        Should it happen to you in this case, you can report it here.  Contact WHO and/ or Report a scam.

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        From 11th March WHO have deemed the virus a pandemic. You can find an up-to-date global map here. Please follow virus protocols as described in the above pamphlet provided by the government. Expect further announcements and monitor reputable news sources such as France24 (English) for up-to-date information. This article is updated frequently, so do check back and DO
        stay healthy everybody!

        Sources: Linternaute, WHO, Gouvernement.fr, wikipedia, cdc.gov, Vendee Gouvernement and France24English, ARS Pays de la Loire

        Disclaimer: This Site cannot and does not contain medical/health advice. The medical/health information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of medical/health advice.

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