France should prepare for coronavirus situation

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French President Emmanuel Macron (R), AP-HP President Martin Hirsch (L) and French Health minister Olivier Veran (L, back) visit the Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris on February 27, 2020 where the first French victim of COVID-19 passed away the day before. - France has so far registered 18 infections and two deaths, a 60 years-old French citizen and a 80 years old Chinese tourist, as European governments scramble to contain a slew of new coronavirus cases popping up across the continent. (Photo by Martin Bureau / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MARTIN BUREAU/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

An infectious disease specialist has warned that France should brace itself for a coronavirus outbreak comparable to what Italy is currently facing.

Authorities in Italy are struggling to contain the virus, which has infected more than 370 people and left 12 dead there.

There are just 16 confirmed cases in France, but Professor of Infectious and Tropical Diseases at the Pitié-Salpêtrièr hospital in Paris, Eric Caumes says he expects the situation to worsen given the “many channels of transmission” already circulating in the population.

“Even if the severity is probably much weaker than we imagined, it probably transmits much better than we imagined,” he said, addressing the press alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, who was visiting Pitié-Salpêtrièr.

The hospital is where France’s first coronavirus patient, a 60-year-old man from the l’Oise region, died. He is one of two people to have died in the country.

Macron paid tribute to the hospital staff, saying the death “very much touched the team.”

“I count on you and you can count on me so that we can work together and respond,” Macron told medical staff.  

Source: CNN News

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