Week in Review: Holy days under lockdown, digital tracking to stem Covid-19 and coping with isolation
With roughly half the world’s population now under some form of lockdown, FRANCE 24 looks at how the French government is eyeing digital tracking apps to contain the coronavirus while millions around the world celebrate Easter, Passover and Ramadan in quarantine. We also asked our viewers to share their tips on mitigating the emotional cost of prolonged isolation.
In France and elsewhere, governments are looking at the use of apps to track citizens through their smartphones as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus. But critics worry that once such tracking systems are in place, governments may be tempted to use them for something else.
President Emmanuel Macron visited a French doctor in Marseille this week whose work on a drug normally used for malaria and autoimmune diseases has been promoted by US President Donald Trump as a potential weapon against Covid-19. Most medical experts say the scientific proof is lacking that hydroxychloroquine is effective against coronavirus.
Countries hit hard by the coronavirus are watching for a flattening of the curve to indicate the fight to tame the pandemic is gaining ground. Although France looks set to remain in lockdown for most of April and possibly longer, questions are already being raised as to how to lift a nationwide lockdown.
Hammered by the coronavirus crisis, French airline parts maker Cefival has seen its business cut in half in just a few weeks. In the hospitality sector, chef Olivier Lebail hasn’t had a diner in his restaurant since mid-March. He’s required to advance the furlough pay of his one employee, but so far has been denied a loan request. “If I don’t get a minimum of €30,000 in three weeks, I’ll have to shut for good,” Lebail tells FRANCE 24.
Get up, work, eat, sleep, repeat. With half of the world's population under some form of lockdown, humanity is being confronted with new challenges. So why not inspire others, bridge the distance and get away from routine? FRANCE 24 asked viewers to share their tips on how to cope with the quarantine.
Families of coronavirus victims in France are foregoing traditional death and mourning rituals over fears of the spread of Covid-19. But for observant Muslims and Jews, the absence of these rites are an additional emotional burden at a difficult time.
In the past three weeks, the logistics wing of a fire brigade in eastern France has been working around the clock, collecting masks, hospital gowns and hand sanitiser for workers on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak. The team carries out up to seven deliveries a day, about double the normal amount. "Our job is to prepare for any scenario, but this one is indeed particular," Lieutenant-Colonel Manuel Pigne tells FRANCE 24.
A town in Florida has turned to drive-throughs to deal with a surge in unemployment claims blamed on the coronavirus pandemic, allowing residents to collect benefit claim forms without leaving their vehicles. It comes amid a massive rise in the number of unemployed across the United States.
Bodies kept in homes, buried in fields or stored in refrigerated containers: With morgues and funeral homes overloaded, the city of Guayaquil in Ecuador and the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak is struggling to collect and properly bury the victims.
A cheese shop west of Paris has made changes to continue working during France’s coronavirus lockdown. The shop is meticulously observing safety guidelines, with only two customers allowed in at a time, and the manager has also been ordering bread and wine to keep his customers from going to too many stores. Standing on his rollerblades, the shop's deliveryman, Franck Andersen, tells FRANCE 24: “We want to help people out. We know we have quality products and a way to keep working.”
TV SHOWS ONLINE
In an emotional interview with FRANCE 24's partner radio stations RFI and Radio France, Roland Marchal, the French academic released last month after more than nine months in an Iranian jail, spoke out about his time in detention. Marchal's partner, Fariba Adelkhah, who was arrested at the same time, remains emprisoned in Tehran.
For the faithful of the three main monotheistic religions, the spring of 2020 will be one to remember. In France, like in many other countries, strict lockdown policies mean synagogues, churches and mosques are off-limits. As they celebrate Passover, Easter or Ramadan, religious leaders are now often relying heavily on social media to maintain a spiritual link with their congregations.
Businesses around the world are having to make difficult decisions because of the lockdown measures imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Those running small businesses are having to overhaul operations and face harsh financial realities, often in spite of government support. The French government says that no firm should go bankrupt because of coronavirus and is offering financial help. But is it enough? FRANCE 24 spoke to three Paris-based entrepreneurs about how their businesses have been affected.
Since the beginning of March, Chinese companies have sold nearly 4 billion face masks overseas. For Beijing, this is a perfect way to change the narrative: China is now offering its assistance to virus-hit countries while trying to leave the mistakes of the early outbreak in the past.
The Gruss family, pioneers in the circus world, have been travelling the roads of France and Europe for 35 years. Each performance is a moment of escape and delight for spectators. It's also a tribute to the matriarch, Arlette Gruss, who died back in 2006. Backstage as well as on stage, technicians and artists bring the big top to life.
Three and a half billion people are confined in some way around the planet. That's almost half of the world's population. The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed our daily lives. With travel halted and industries slowed or stopped, what does that mean for the environment? What effect could it have on efforts to fight climate change? In this special episode, Down to Earth's team takes a look at carbon emissions, pollution, recycling and the impact on agriculture.
The coronavirus outbreak is expected to push sub-Saharan Africa into recession in 2020 for the first time in 25 years, the World Bank warns, and we speak to the bank's chief economist for Africa. In the Cameroonian city of Douala, a door-to-door inquiry has kicked off in a bid to track down potential carriers of Covid-19, with hospitals on high alert for a surge in admissions. And six scientists in Senegal are racing to develop a ventilator that can be created locally using 3D printers, as the country faces a shortage of the machines.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe