Firsthand experience from Paris: Face masks only on prescription, coronavirus testing approaching collapse!
I am a Slovakian woman living in France and I have a little girl who will turn 2 in June. Recently, I've experienced a situation no parent ever wants to be in in Paris. I fluctuated between stress and intense despair, and I'd have loved to return home at that point. The coronavirus is spreading at rocket speed, they refused to test my sick child, and the Parisians still aren't showing any respect for the critical situation.
At the end of February, I attended an event in Paris with my daughter, where there were also people from abroad. Everything was only just beginning at that time. Shortly after the event, my daughter fell ill. A few days later, she began to cough. We bought her cough syrup and waited if the situation would change. After a few days she was coughing so much that she vomited every time she tried to eat something. She was choking on food, stopped eating and drinking, and had high fever. It was Friday and we were trying to find a doctor right away. It wasn't easy. At that time, about 1,000 people had already been infected with the COVID-19 virus and the flu season was in full swing, which meant one couldn't get an appointment.
How to make an appointment at the doctor in France?
There's an application called Doctolib that lists all doctors and you can choose a suitable practician and date online. If you arrive without a pre-ordered appointment, they won't examine you and you'll probably be sent to the hospital. I wasn't even thinking about going down that route.
Our general practitioner didn't have an available date until two weeks later. I was looking for a solution and found a private doctor, who takes 1,500 crowns for a 15-minute long consultation, but was available the next day. I informed the doctor about the medical situation of my daughter and with the fact that we had been in contact with people who'd returned from abroad. In case we hadn't been in Italy, though, it wasn't a good enough incentive for her to test us for the currently widespread coronavirus. My daughter got antibiotics, a nose spray and meds against fever. The verdict was:
Vomiting is caused by reflux
...and she was diagnosed with sinusitis. Three days into the treatment with antibiotics, a nasty reaction in form of red rash on my daughter's face occurred, and the package leaflet informed that the use of the meds should be terminated. The situation wasn't improving and the thermometer showed 41 C. It was Tuesday and the next available date was on Friday. We waited and the fever had completely abated by then. When I came to the doctor and told her the whole story about fever, cough and allergic reaction, she said the reaction was normal and my daughter could continue taking the antibiotics. My daughter was suffocating and coughing up blood during the examination. I admit, I was completely shocked.
And I'd also like to mention a couple of other experiences that might shock you, too.
Requesting a coronavirus test at a private clinic:
I'm not entitled to one, even though I am at a private clinic and the situation regarding my daughter doesn't look good. The state issued a ban on testing on people who are simply ill. Testing is available only to those, who are in a very critical condition and need hospital care.
Purchasing face masks at the pharmacy:
If you want to buy a protective face mask in a pharmacy, they won't sell it to you.
Me: Good morning, do you have face masks, please?
Lady in the pharmacy: Yes we do.
Me: I'll take two please, thank you.
Lady in the pharmacy: And you have a prescription?
Me, in shock: Excuse me? A prescription?
Even if they have face masks, you can't buy one without a prescription, and I didn't get any from the doctor. What a joke! If, by any chance, my child is infected, I am a carrier. But nobody cares about that here!
New regulations will finally force the French to sit at home!
The number of patients is growing rapidly and in the last 24 hours the number of infected people has increased by 1,000. Are the elections that took place over the weekend to blame? On Saturday 14.3., the state issued a ban on almost all restaurants, bars, entertainment and cultural venues, even shops. This situation should last for a month or until further notice. Nothing new for the people living in Central Europe. And starting today, 17.2., the country is in total quarantine and the president declared a war in the country! A war against the virus that's already devastating the economy of the state. The French, as one of the most infected countries in Europe, are only now shutting down their discos? Congrats!