Day 11: More confinement

Friday, 27th of March

As expected, the prime minister has announced an extension at least until the 15th of April. The kids have understood they will not be going back to school any time soon. We are making the best of it, developing strategies and routines that make everyday life ok.

This week, the kids have been very busy with a project they had been planning for ages: they have swapped bedrooms. It may not sound like a big deal, but, for a kid, it’s like changing universe. They now have a whole new perspective within the confines of our home. We were invited to tea in my son’s “new” room this evening. He made us a “cafĂ© gourmand” and charged us 50 cents for it, the cheeky thing.

The confinement period was extended because “we are only at the start of the epidemic wave”, said Edouard Philippe. The confinement measures – some of the most stringent in Europe – will remain the same. If necessary, the government has said it will enforce stricter measures such as curfews in some areas. The French government is relying heavily on the so-called “scientific council” for its decision-making. Made up of 11 members from different scientific backgrounds, this council was set up hastily by Emmanuel Macron on the 10th of March to help advise the government during the crisis.

Over the last few days, there’s been a lot of talk about the effectiveness of chloroquine, a medication primarily used to prevent and treat malaria, in the fight against the coronavirus. In France, a Marseille-based doctor published trials on a very limited number of patients which he said proved conclusive, and in the US, comments by US president Trump spurred a rush to stockpile the drug. But in its weekly Covid-19 media briefing today, the World Health Organisation called “on individuals and countries to refrain from using therapeutics that have not been demonstrated to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19”.

With no vaccine expected before 12 to 18 months, in the words of WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus,

“We are only at the beginning of this fight.
We need to stay calm, stay united and work together.”

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