Discovery Corona Virus update in France

Discovery Corona Virus update in France

Dear friends and partners,

In this time of rapid spread of Covid-19, Decouvertes has committed to informing you as best as we can about the situation in France.

What is the situation in France?

The situation has evolved a lot last week in France, with 178 patients to date having been infected (vs 14 last Monday) and two other patients having died from the virus.

The circumstances that led to the death of one patient, a 60 year-old teacher, are not clear, but the deceased seems to not have been diagnosed in time, probably linked with the fact that he had not traveled in an area considered as a cluster of the epidemic (1). The last patient to have died from the disease is a woman in her 80s who lived in the same area as the deceased teacher.

How is France responding to the situation?

The French health authorities have now acknowledged that the virus is on the territory, and are now seeking to limit its propagation.

  • 3 clusters have been identified: one in the department of Oise (north of Paris, 47 patients), one in Haute Savoie (near the Switzerland border, 10 cases), one in Morbihan (in the region of Brittany, 13 cases): all public gatherings have been forbidden in these areas.
  • In the rest of the territory, large events in confined venues have been canceled, but also the half marathon of Paris as a precautionary measure.
  • Flights from China, Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore, South Korea, and affected regions in Italy arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris are met by medical professionals to answer questions and take into care any person presenting symptoms.
  • Note that Air France has canceled flights to and from China at least until mid-March.
  • Travelers returning on government-provided evacuation flights are placed in quarantine.
  • All other travelers returning from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, South Korea or the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto are advised to monitor their temperature twice daily for 14 days, wear a surgical mask when they are with others or outside their home, stay away from individuals with compromised health, and reduce non-essential activities that would expose them to crowds.
Should your clients adjust their travel plans?

A very low lethal rate for under 60 year olds

If your clients are healthy adults under 60 or children, the lethal rate is close to 0.2%, which means 2 out of 10,000 people (2).

In comparison, the lethal rate for the seasonal flu is 0.1% or 1 out of 10,000 people.

Across all age categories, the World Health Organization has stated that the symptoms are benign for most patients, serious for 14% (Pneumonia) and that 5% of patients are in a critical state. These figures should be nuanced for patients under 60, based on the above figures.

An rapid increase, but still a relatively small population

Bear in mind that 178 cases out of a population of 67 million reflects a situation where life goes on normally for the vast majority.

In comparison, seasonal influenza caused over 82,000 deaths in 2020 in the world, whilst Coronavirus caused just over 3,000 death cases, including China. This shows that the epidemic is still at a relatively low stage.

The virus does not “float in the air”

“There is no need for drastic measures at this stage”, states Docteur Jérôme Salomon, n°2 of the French health ministry. “The virus does not “float is the air” and is transmitted through people sneezing or coughing near you, shaking your hands”, said Docteur Jérôme Salomon. (3)

Asked about traveling, and specifically about the instance of Disneyland Paris, he explained: “Outside activities where people stand 2 meters apart from each other are perfectly fine”. (3)

Why did the Louvre museum close its doors the past 2 days?

The Louvre museum shut its doors on Sunday 1st and Monday 2nd because of a social movement of employees who are worried for their safety. (4) The shutting down is not a measure prescribed by authorities at this stage. We anticipate that the Louvre should remain closed in the next few days until the employees are satisfied that their health is protected.

What would happen if my client contracted the virus in France?

France benefits from one of the best health systems in the world. People go get checked for free and can access treatment and stay in hospital for free.

American citizens in France should check that their health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.

For emergency health services, American citizens will not be required to pay (5). The US embassy maintains a list of English-speaking doctors across the territory on its website.

What’s Decouvertes’ recommendation?

One should bear in mind that no travel restrictions have been implemented by the Government of France in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, no travel restriction has been recommended by the World Health Organization, and the US travel advisory for France has remained at level 2 since last April.

At this stage, our recommendation if your clients are in good health and less than 60, is to maintain their travel plans.

We recommend traveling business or first class and using VIP Meet and Greet services to avoid crowds.

Whilst on the ground, avoiding activities in confined and crowded areas and following basic hygiene rules (such as washing your hands regularly and using single-use tissues).

Bertrand Collignon

President & CEO







Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.

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Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region. The city of Paris, within its administrative limits largely unchanged since 1860, has an estimated population of 2,193,031, but the Paris metropolitan area has a population of 11,836,970, and is one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. In 2009 and 2010, the city has been ranked among the three most important and influential cities in the world, among the first three "European cities of the future" according to a research published by Financial Times and among the top ten cities in the world in which to live according to the British review Monocle.  The city is the home of the most visited art museum in the world; ''the Louvre'' as well as the ''Musée d'Orsay'' noted for its collection of French Impressionist art, and the ''Musée National d'Art Moderne'' a museum of modern and contemporary art. The notable architectural landmarks of Paris include Notre Dame Cathedral (12th century); the Sainte-Chapelle (13th century); the Eiffel Tower (1889); and the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre (1914). In 2014 Paris received 22.4 million visitors, making it one of the world's top tourist destinations. It is also known for its fashion, particularly the twice-yearly Paris Fashion Week, and for its haute cuisine, and three-star restaurants. Most of France's major universities and grandes écoles are located in Paris, as are France's major newspapers, including Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Libération.



Montpellier is a city in southern France and the capital of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, as well as the Hérault department. It is the 8th largest city of France, and is also the fastest growing city in the country over the past 25 years. Located on the south coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, it is the third-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast after Marseille and Nice. For most of its history, and even today, Montpellier is known for its significant Spanish population, heritage and influence.





Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in north-eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin department. In 2006, the city proper had 272,975 inhabitants and its urban community 467,375 inhabitants. With 638,670 inhabitants in 2006, Strasbourg's metropolitan area ("aire urbaine") (only the part of the metropolitan area on French territory) is the ninth largest in France. The transnational Eurodistrict Strasbourg-Ortenau has a population of 884,988 inhabitants.



Bordeaux is a port city on the Garonne River in southwest France, with an estimated (2008) population of 250,082. The Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, has a population of 1,010,000 and constitutes the sixth-largest urban area in France. It is the capital of the Aquitaine region, as well as the prefecture of the Gironde department. Its inhabitants are called Bordelais. Bordeaux is the world's major wine industry capital. It is home to the world's main wine fair, Vinexpo, while the wine economy in the metro area moves 14.5 billion euros each year. Bordeaux wine has been produced in the region since the eighth century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble" of the 18th century.



Marseille, known in antiquity as Massalia, is the second largest city in France, after Paris, with a population of 852,395 within its administrative limits on a land area of 240.62 km2. The urban area of Marseille extends beyond the city limits with a population of over 1,420,000 on an area of 1,204 km2. 1,530,000 or 1,601,095 people live in the Marseille metropolitan area. Located on the southeast coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Marseille is France's largest commercial port and largest French city on the Mediterranean coast. Marseille is the capital of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, as well as the capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department. Its inhabitants are called Marseillais.



Lyon, a city in east-central France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, sits at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. Lyon, also written Lyons in English, is the third largest city in France and centre of the second largest metropolitan area in the country. It is the capital of the Rhone-Alpes region and the Rhône département. It is known as a gastronomic and historical city with a vibrant cultural scene. It is also the birthplace of cinema.

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