For the last few weeks, Cancer Support France–Languedoc have been producing useful bulletins summarising key news items from the French government and other verified sources, as well as giving practical tips and suggestions for how to occupy yourself during the weeks of home confinement. The Association, which supports Anglophones living in the Languedoc who are affected by cancer, has kindly offered to share these bulletins with us.
A round-up of the latest news and tips during the confinement
Welcome to our latest bulletin.
After a flurry of activity, it’s been calmer this week as new rules and processes settle in. Despite this, there are still points to note, principally that, as expected, the lockdown is almost certain to continue beyond April 15th.
The digital travel form
The new digital travel form, introduced this week, will hopefully make life easier for most of us and save precious printer ink – not to mention trees. Instructions for downloading and completing the form on your smartphone are reasonably straightforward, but we thought it worth sharing some points about the new form that have been noted by our members:
- After completing your details for the first time, they will be saved on your device and will be the defaults the next time you need to produce a form.
- We haven’t found a way to produce two forms on only one device for two different people going out at the same time. It seems that each person must create their own form on a separate device
- No data on the person filling in the form will be collected by the government.
- The QR code on the pdf document can be read by the police without the police handling the phone.
- Make sure you save the completed PDF form in an easy-to-access place on your phone – and test it!
- The time the attestation was generated is noted electronically to stop anyone filling in the form just because they have spotted a police check whilst out.
Face masks: if, what, where and when to wear?
The evolving debate around the use of masks for the general population continues.
Following the about-turn by the US administration on the wearing of masks by people without Covid-19 symptoms, there has been renewed debate in France about the wearing of masks by the general population. We have tried to find out what is recommended by the various bodies. It is not for us to recommend the best approach, but the links and text below provide some information to help make an informed choice on whether to wear a mask, and if so, what type.
Academie Nationale de Medicine’s recommendation
It was reported last week that the independent Academie Nationale de Medicine had recommended that healthcare workers should have priority for the distribution of FFP2 masks, but a “general public” mask should be made obligatory for all outings during the lockdown. However, the Academie’s press release on Sunday April 5th contained only the recommendation that a mask be worn by the general population once the period of confinement is ended. They believe that this would be an indication that “the exit from containment is not yet a return to normal life and [the wearing of masks] should be maintained until the transmission of the virus is stopped”. You can find the press release here: http://www.academie-medecine.fr/communique-de-lacademie-covid-19-sortie-du-confinement/
Director General of Health’s advice
The Director General of Health, Jerome Salomon, has modified his stance against the use of non-medical standard masks by announcing the manufacture of “alternative” masks. There are now a number of companies in France manufacturing non-medical staff masks that could be worn by second line workers now, and by the general public when we come out of confinement. When Pr Jerome Salomon was asked last Friday he said that these masks could be worn by all to stop the projection of potential viral particles if you are infected.
Although, in the US, the CDC has amended its recommendations to be in favour of wearing masks (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html), the WHO is maintaining its original advice, fearing that the widespread use of masks gives a false sense of security and makes people forget the essential hygiene procedures of social distancing and hand washing. Full details here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks
If you wish to make a DIY mask, there are many easy to follow instructions online:
- Academie Nationale de Medicine video
- This site was linked from BFMTV and provides many alternatives, including folded fabric, paper and plastic masks that do not require any sewing: http://stop-postillons.fr/
When choosing what material to use to make a mask, research has shown DIY masks made with a single layer of cotton clothing or a tea towel can remove around 50-60% of virus-sized particles. This means they perform worse than surgical masks. Doubling the layers of material for your DIY mask gives a small increase in filtration effectiveness but makes the mask much more difficult to breathe through.
These links have a summary of information on the types of material to use for DIY masks and their relative effectiveness:
Changes to Funeral Arrangements
The government has passed a bill that will, among other measures, enable the postponement of funerals for up to six months:
- This bill is valid until one month after the end of the current sanitary state of emergency declared on 23 March.
- The main measure is to lengthen the time for a funeral to take place from the normal 6 days to 21 days after death. A further extension of up to six months can be applied for as long as the coffin is sealed and stored with dignity in an appropriate facility. The préfets have been asked to identify such facilities.
- Another measure is to facilitate the admin procedures: signing of authorisations to transport the body before and after the funeral can be deferred or granted remotely.
- The maximum number of mourners allowed at funerals will be 20 inclusive of all funeral staff; fewer at a crematorium where numbers can be limited during busy periods.
These measures are aimed at facilitating the task of funeral homes and alleviating the distress of the families of the victims of Covid19.
Useful links for keeping fit and occupied
- This is a huge collection of free books, videos, cultural activities, courses for all ages and interests. Mostly in French with some in English.
- This is another good link for exercises.
- Here’s a link to a video from the Office de Tourisme Cap d’Agde Méditerranée for no better reason than we liked it.
- A weekly dose of inspiration, escapism and creativity from the Royal Academy.
- Settling down with a book is better if they’re free – as some are here.
- Do you enjoy doing jigsaws? Yes! Then check out this free site.
- There is a daily jigsaw but if you don’t fancy that one there are hundreds of others to choose from. You can also choose the cut, the number of pieces and whether to have the “lid” displayed or not.
- Miss going to choir rehearsal or just want to join a chorus? Then try the Great British Home Chorus with choirmaster Gareth Malone. The rehearsals are Monday – Friday 18.30 – 19.00 (French time) and there is a different song each week. Previous rehearsals are available on YouTube. The web address to register is: https://decca.com/greatbritishhomechorus/ “I haven’t had as much fun since the lockdown started.”
- Or perhaps you always wanted to learn to juggle: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCYDZDlcO6g
Nouri Bio Market in Agde, Clermont and Pezenas are offering delivery services with a minimum spend and limits on delivery. These vary for each shop. The Clermont store is also offering “Drive” from their car park.
- Agde 04 67 35 00 70
- Clermont 04 67 44 82 98
- Pezenas 04 67 98 89 31
In Clermont, Le Comptoir des Producteurs is also offering home delivery.
We’re always pleased to receive your feedback at: email@example.com
Our dedicated Covid-19 web page is here: http://csf-languedoc.com/covid-19-support
You can find CSF-Languedoc’s April newsletter here.
Cancer Support France – Languedoc
Helpline 04 67 44 87 06