Coronavirus: France warned to prepare for outbreak similar to Italy as virus spreads across Europe

Joe GampContributor, Yahoo News UK
Yahoo News UK
A leading professor of diseases in France has warned the country will face an outbreak similar to Italy (Getty)
A leading professor of diseases in France has warned the country will face an outbreak similar to Italy (Getty)

A leading doctor in France believes the country should expect a coronavirus outbreak similar to Italy, warning the way patients are handled could increase the risk of an epidemic.

Eric Caumes, professor of infectious and tropical diseases at the Pitié-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, says that the country needs to rethink how it handles coronavirus as the bug spreads across Europe.

Scroll to continue with content
Ad

It follows news that France has recorded its second death, a 60-year-old man, who died in a Paris hospital earlier this week.

When asked if France should fear further contamination, the diseases expert said it was “unstoppable” and that a similar scenario to that of Italy was likely.

A man wearing a mask leaves hospital in Creil, Paris, where people tested positive for coronavirus have been treated (Reuters)
A man wearing a mask leaves hospital in Creil, Paris, where people tested positive for coronavirus have been treated (Reuters)

He told Le Parisien: “Yes, we risk experiencing the Italian scenario. It is unstoppable. I say it and I repeat it. By rushing patients into hospitals, the epidemic will increase. We will have to change our strategy.

Read more: Germany 'at start of coronavirus epidemic' as fears grow over spread in Europe

“Let people who do not have serious forms stay at home! This will prevent contamination as we know it in Italy or in China.

“Today, we are exhausted with people with runny noses while their presence in the hospital can infect more fragile people.”

French president Emmanuel Macron visits the Paris hospital that has been in the forefront of testing and treating patients with coronavirus (AP)
French president Emmanuel Macron visits the Paris hospital that has been in the forefront of testing and treating patients with coronavirus (AP)

The virology expert also advised that people “must stop shaking hands, wash our hands better and open the windows to ventilate our homes” as it Covid-19 is “difficult to detect”.

He also urged caution around the demographics of those dying from the virus, criticising misinformation around patients and creating further panic.

Read more: Tenerife hotel placed in quarantine after doctor tests positive for coronavirus

Prof Caumes said: “I feel like we’re doing everything we can to spread panic. Why do health authorities not say that patients who die in Italy are often 80 years old, cancers or other pathologies?”

A couple wearing face masks stroll outside St Peter's Square, Vatican (AP)
A couple wearing face masks stroll outside St Peter's Square, Vatican (AP)

Fears intensified over the spread of coronavirus in Europe as France reported its second death and the number of people in Italy with the virus continued to climb.

Meanwhile, authorities in Italy have reported that the number of people infected in the country grew to 400 and 12 people have now died.

Austria, Croatia and Switzerland also reported their first cases linked to the outbreak in Italy, while Spain and France recorded new ones, also involving people who had been to northern Italy.

What to Read Next