To help keep English-speaking residents and visitors to the region informed, CSF Languedoc have been sharing bulletins of extremely useful information.
Taken from verified government sources, this is a fountain of knowledge during these uncertain times – big thank you to CSF Languedoc!
Map of departments – Covid-19
In order to make informed decisions, please stay up to date with the French Government’s map showing whether departments are rated as green or red in terms of Covid-19 viral circulation, hospital capacity and testing capacity.
Reduce the risks of catching Covid-19
While a lot is still being learned about the way the Covid-19 virus acts, there are some known factors that help individuals and groups to better understand and manage the risks of spreading or catching the virus. There is a detailed analysis of factors likely to increase risks given in a detailed piece by Dr Erin S Bromage, which looks at research into other coronaviruses and research about Covid-19.
To take the key messages from Dr Bromage’s text: to get infected, someone needs to get exposed to an infectious dose of the virus. Some studies on other coronaviruses estimate that as few as 1000 viral particles may be needed for an infection to take hold. This has not been determined experimentally with Covid-19, but Dr Bromage uses this number to demonstrate how infection can occur.
Using this hypothesis, infection could occur through:
- 1000 viral particles received in one breath or from one eye-rub
- 100 viral particles inhaled with each breath over 10 breaths
- 10 viral particles inhaled with 100 breaths
Viral transfer risks increase:
- if someone is breathing deeply (sport, singing, etc)
- from sneezes and coughs
- from being in an enclosed space with others (increasing with time)
- from being in an enclosed space where others have been (increasing with time)
- by touching surfaces touched by others
High transfer risk activities include:
- using public toilets
- using restaurants
- attending group events (weddings, funerals, birthday parties, conferences, meetings etc)
- working in densely populated workplaces (e.g. meat packing plants, call centres)
- playing indoor sports
- using public transport
- singing in a group (choirs)
- contact with infected household members
The main sources for infection identified so far are in the home, workplace, public transport, social gatherings, and restaurants.
Indoor spaces, with limited air exchange or recycled air and lots of people, increase transmission risk, (as does visiting rooms with high touch surfaces, e.g. bathrooms). Social distancing guidelines are ineffective in indoor spaces where you spend a lot of time. People on the opposite side of a room can be infected, as viral exposure is increased over an extended period of time. Add in the likelihood of touching the same surfaces, and risk increases further.
Social distancing rules help to protect us with brief exposures or outdoor exposures. In these situations, there is not enough time to achieve the infectious viral load when you are standing a metre apart, or where wind and outdoor space for viral dilution reduces viral load.
Masks, used in line with guidance, greatly reduce the risk of passing on viral particles to others. If used badly (touched/removed during use and before appropriate handwashing), they can increase the risk of infection to the wearer.
As well as respiratory exposure, please don’t forget surfaces. Those infected respiratory droplets land somewhere.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds, with soap, every time you change location, and at least four times a day.
- Avoid touching your face unless your hands have just been washed as above.
- Wear a mask (following good practice) for indoor contact with people outside your own household and make sure they are wearing theirs to protect you.
How to get a test for Covid-19 if you have symptoms
- runny nose
- loss of smell and/or taste
If you experience symptoms, do not wait: contact your GP who will ask questions and prescribe a test if appropriate. If you cannot reach your GP, contact 15. The prescription will be sent to you electronically. This may be done via Doctolib or email as agreed with the prescribing doctor.
Tests will be done at hospitals, labs, drive-in centres, or at home by a mobile team.
The test will be reimbursed 100% by CPAM.
GP will ask you to self-isolate until results are known.
If result is positive, the GP will continue care. Call 15 if condition deteriorates.
GP will give advice on self-isolation at home if possible: length of time (8 to 10 days), in own room, wearing of masks at all times (masks will be available free of charge), airing of room, disinfection of objects and surfaces. GP can offer self-isolation in a hotel with help from special support teams.
You will be asked about who you have been in contact with.
Contacts will be traced and asked questions by CPAM or ARS. If potentially infected they will be asked to self-isolate until they can be tested 7 days after they have been in contact with the infected person. If the test is negative they will be advised if they can reduce the self-isolation, but they will not be safe for a further 7 days, during which they could develop symptoms.
There are now 430+ test centres for Covid-19 operational in Occitanie, plus 36 public and private pathology labs ready to perform up to 20,000 tests per day. 16,000 tests were performed in the week commencing 1 May. An average of 3% were positive.
How to calculate 100 km from your home and permit to travel beyond 100 km
With the new freedom to travel 100 km from your home without an attestation, it is important to know where you can go. There are a lot of online map services, but this one has been developed to be quick and easy to use.
Enter your address in the section ‘Saissisez l’adresse de votre domicile’, click on ‘Afficher la carte’, and your 100km radius will be shown.
You can also follow step by step instructions for the government-prodcued Geoportail here.
If you need to travel further than 100km, you can find out more here.
Extra services available from La Poste, particularly for those at risk
La Poste is launching new services to support those who must continue to stay at home. All post offices in France will be open at the end of May with suitable hours.
GENERAL POSTAL SERVICES
Priority letters and registered letters will be progressively distributed on Saturdays, so 6 days a week.
Postal workers will collect street mailboxes again 6 days a week, gradually increased according to operational capacities up to 100% at the end of May.
Other letters (green letters, management letters, advertising letters, etc.) will be distributed 5 days a week, Monday to Friday.
Letters, including registered mail, can now be sent without going to the post office, by buying a postage sticker online. The service will gradually extend throughout the territory. The option is offered when entering the postal code. Postal workers will collect registered letters during their normal delivery route.
Throughout May, in strict compliance with government directives and protective measures for postal workers and customers, La Poste will gradually reopen all post offices, i.e. 7,700 offices all over France. Almost all of the contact points (including partnerships with town halls and merchants) will also be open at the end of May.
In addition, the opening hours and the services provided will be adapted according to the local health situation and how post offices are frequented.
The Youpix application remains available to turn your photos into personalized postcards that La Poste will print and distribute.
Masks can be ordered here.
EXTRA SERVICES FOR THOSE AT RISK OR VULNERABLE
From the week of 11th May, La Poste is organising the following:
- Distribution of parcels, newspapers and local services, such as the delivery of meals and medicines 6 days a week, Monday to Saturday.
- A home mail collection service for vulnerable people. To limit trips out of the home, La Poste now offers to collect mail to send from your mailbox. This service is free. If someone would benefit from it, their postal worker should be told. If the customer does not have stamps for their post, they can print a stamp or pay their postal worker by cheque or cash.
Travel Insurance – does mine cover me for Covid-19?
There has been a lot of enquiry about whether travel insurance will cover people for Covid-19. Also, some press reporting that Insurance companies are changing their approach to cover in the light of Covid-19.
In fact, it depends entirely on what your policy says. Many standard policies provide cover that excludes pandemics. In such a case, any Covid-19 related claim will be disallowed. This would be irrespective of whether you booked travel before or after 11th March (the date on which WHO declared the pandemic) and even if your travel is within government guidance.
Some more specialised travel insurance policies, written for those with pre-existing conditions, (such as cancer), may include pandemic cover, as the insured may be more vulnerable.
The advice is: check your policy carefully and if you have any doubt, contact your insurer, ideally before booking, and certainly before travelling. Ensure you get any confirmation of cover in writing.
Contactless payments up to 50€ – possible problems for some users
Contactless payment has been very successful during the coronavirus epidemic: reducing the possibility of contamination, by removing the need to use a keypad touched by other customers. The epidemic accelerated the raising of the limit for these payments and on 11 May it increased from 30€ to 50€.
The previous increase had required a change of bank cards and an adaptation of payment terminals. This time, for the majority of customers, it will be automatic. This is the case for those who have accounts with many banks, including:
- BNP Paribas
- Crédit Agricole
- La Banque postale
- Crédit Mutuel
- Axa Banque
Finally, more than 90% of Banque Populaire and Savings Banks (BPCE) cards will also be automatically upgraded. For the remaining 10%, a withdrawal must be made to activate the new limit. There will be a slight delay for Orange Bank.
For BNP Paribas customers who have a card expiring in 2020, the update will be done gradually and will probably last until the end of May/beginning of June.
Banks have informed their customers where there will be a delay (some CB au Monde customers), a renewal, or if the card needs to be validated by being used to make a withdrawal, (Société Générale, ING, BforBank and Crédit du Nord). For Boursorama customers, two withdrawals must be made.
The vendor’s terminal must also have been updated. This will be the case from 11 May for the majority of open businesses practicing contactless.
Sports – how to find out what is and what is not allowed
For those missing their sports, a detailed guide has been made available by the government, available here.
Pages two and three provide a clear index allowing you to find the details relating to the sport(s) of your choice.
There is no substantial change to the outline guidance provided previously.
Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response
CSF-L continues to support Anglophones touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).
If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
We hope you stay safe and well.