- A new plane has left China to repatriate around 100 people, including dozens of French people, who are fleeing the coronavirus epidemic.
- In Aix-en-Provence, a school of firefighters was requisitioned to accommodate them.
From our special correspondent in Aix-en-Provence
Forty-eight hours after a first convoy of French people, placed in quarantine in a holiday center in Carry-le-Rouet, on the Blue Coast, the Bouches-du-Rhône welcome again a handful of French people, repatriated in emergency from Wuhan , in China, epicenter of the epidemic of
coronaviruses. While a part of these French people will join Carry-le-Rouet, another will be redirected to another improvised reception center, at
Aix en Provence. How is it going to happen? What are the risks ? 20 minutes takes stock, while elected representatives of Aix and the Secretary of State to the Minister of Health were dispatched to the scene.
Who are the returnees on this second flight from China?
A plane took off in the night from Saturday to Sunday from China, to land in the middle of the afternoon on the Istres air base, in the Bouches-du-Rhône. On board, 250 people, mainly from the European Union. No less than 30 nationalities are represented, including 65 French.
This flight is the second of its kind: a first plane had repatriated this Friday nearly 180 French from the region of Wuhan, placed in quarantine on their arrival on French soil in a holiday center in Carry-le-Rouet. Initial tests have been carried out with these people confined to this place, and these tests show that they have not been contaminated by the coronavirus, according to statements by the Secretary of State to the Minister of Health, Adrien Taquet .
According to the prefecture of Bouches-du-Rhône, 88 foreign nationals returned directly to their country, once landed in Istres, including 45 bound for Brussels. No less than 32 people were redirected to Carry-le-Rouet, only of French nationality.
However, in anticipation of this new flow of returnees, it was decided to requisition the superior national school of the fire brigade officers of Aix-en-Provence, whose students were asked to leave the premises on Thursday evening, according to information from 20 minutes published late last week. In this Aix reception center, 16 French and 66 foreign nationals have or are in the process of being dispatched.
Why did you requisition another place in addition to the vacation center already used for quarantining returnees?
Joined by AFP, the Red Cross, which manages the logistics and animation of the holiday center of Carry-le-Rouet, since Friday, said that there remained “fifty accommodation places” in This site. By early afternoon, toiletries had been prepared there for future new arrivals, said one of the three AFP journalists who have been confined there since their return from Wuhan.
But faced with a potential lack of space, the authorities decided to requisition a fire brigade school, located in the Les Milles activity zone, away from downtown Aix-en-Provence. This site is close to a few businesses and a handful of homes.
“We made sure that families could stay together, says Adrien Taquet. Of the 250 people arriving today, there are around 50 children and a few babies. In Carry, the layout of the premises is more conducive to welcoming families, and this is what guided our choice in the orientation of each other. The site used in Aix-en-Provence can accommodate more than 500 people in different studios originally reserved for students of the school, and whose courses have been canceled, according to declarations on the spot by the mayor LR of the town, Maryse Joissains.
“Inside, you have a whole confined area with barriers and buildings in which people will be accommodated,” said MP LREM from Aix-en-Provence and municipal candidate Anne-Laurence Petel. The gymnasium will serve as a place for collective catering. There are also entry and exit airlocks so that this is done in the best sanitary conditions. According to the parliamentarian, the site will be taken over by “a team of reservists, doctors, nurses and psychologists, experienced in these kinds of crises”.
Are there health risks?
The concern remains in Aix-en-Provence, especially with local residents or traders, like this pizza delivery man, whose student officers constitute part of his clientele. “What scares me is the atmosphere in the village,” he says. I’m afraid people will worry. I, the first one, worry. “
Fears relayed by the mayor of the town, Maryse Joissains, who calls himself “doubtful”. “I must say that the regional prefect, the sub-prefect and the police commissioner have taken all measures to reassure the population,” said the councilor. As I am always a little skeptical, I had Ms. Buzyn on the phone, who authorized me to give an information meeting this Tuesday at the Salle des Vignerons, in Les Milles ” school
The mayor, however, is not openly willing to welcome a new wave of returnees, even if the place is suitable. “That’s enough there, no, annoys Maryse Joissains. We have our quota. I believe that everyone must share this solidarity of France. Me, I want to be united, but not alone. “
– Mathilde Ceilles (@MathildeCeilles) February 2, 2020
“People obviously benefited from the necessary tests when leaving the plane,” reassures Adrien Taquet. None of them have symptoms similar to the coronavirus. Other tests will be conducted upon arrival and for fourteen days. We follow very precisely the health situation of each of these people. Everything is organized so that there is no infection. “A document that 20 minutes was able to consult was distributed to future returnees from Aix-en-Provence, asking them to take their temperature regularly for several days.