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Firsthand experience from Paris. The French don't take coronavirus seriously!

Simona Deutou
12.Mar 2020
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2 minutes
Situace v Paříži během období koronaviru.

The whole world is on alert, everyone is taking security measures, schools and universities are being shut down, and people are being instructed to stay at home. I watch the growing curve of people infected with the COVID-19 virus, the increasing number of victims and simultaneously schools full of children and the crowded metro in the capital of France in silent astonishment. The French are pretending it doesn't concern them! And I'm asking, how is that even possible?

I've lived in Paris for almost two years. I admit that Paris is charming, but the thoughtless behavior of the French still upsets me. France is the second most affected country in the European Union by coronavirus, right after Italy. As of yesterday, more than 2,800 infected and 60 victims have been reported. Yet the French seem to have a problem understanding the fact that the situation is truly alarming and they put entertainment over responsibility.

I cannot objectively assess whether the number of people in shopping malls has decreased because I don't hang out in these places at all, but when I drive my car through the boulevards of Paris, it seems to me that nothing has changed. The restaurants are full of people, students hit the pubs after school. Groups of children are gathering in front of schools, a neighbor who just got off the bus is trying to grab my daughter's hand and they think I'm a fool because me screaming at her to prevent that from happening apparently means I'm hysteric about the situation.

How does it look like in shops?

Recently, when I was doing shopping for about two weeks, I was the only one with a full basket of groceries. Friends on social networks claim that antibacterial gels are also sold out and nobody's laughing at the people who wear Louis Vuitton face masks anymore. On the contrary, they're trying to find out where to get one cheaply.

Prodej luxusního bytu, Praha 1 - Nové Město
Prodej luxusního bytu, Praha 1 - Nové Město, Praha 1

Compared to the Czech Republic, where there are incomparably fewer cases, Czech measures are far ahead and people are prepared. They've closed schools a long time ago and banned events with over 100 people. In France, a similar regulation has been issued with the difference that it concerns groups of over 1,000 people. But the French are unable to respect even that and on Wednesday, March 11, a group of thousands of fans gathered outside the Parc de Princes stadium in France during an important football match between Paris and Dortmund, and it was impossible to force the crowd to dissolve. That's what it looks like when passion is stronger than common sense.

I've been waiting for days for the government to react, and given the situation in the neighboring countries, I hope that strict measures will be taken, enabling to tame and gradually eradicate the virus. Yesterday in the evening, French President Emmanuel Marcon made a public speech and commented on this crazy situation, admitting that the French were only at the beginning of this epidemic.

However, Macron claims that the French have the best healthcare in the world and that they will do everything they can to control the situation and help other countries. From Monday, March 16, all kindergartens, schools and universities will be closed until further notice. My eyes lit up with joy and I thought it was about time. He even issued measures regarding partial unemployment and doesn't expect people to pay their taxes, fines or installments and is ready to provide financial help to people. All we can do now is hope that the French will search their hearts, respect the regulations and minimize their trips to shopping centers, cafes or museums.

The state borders are still open, but the President warns people to travel only in very urgent cases. There will also be elections soon, from 15 to 22 March. How many people will attend is questionable.

I feel a little more hopeful that the situation will improve worldwide and we will soon be able to visit our families and live the same life as before.

Let's be responsible!

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