Paris (AFP)

Bus passed through Milan blocked in Lyon, precautionary measures for people returning from Lombardy and Veneto: vigilance is mounting in France to avoid contamination by coronavirus from Italy, the border country which is the most affected in Europe.

Lombardy and Veneto, the regions of northern Italy affected by the new virus, are now placed at the same level as China, the cradle of the epidemic.

The recommendations for returnees from these two provinces have in fact been aligned with those already in force for China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao).

The most significant of these recommendations concerns children. If they return from these places, they "must not be sent to the crèche, school, college or high school", according to the text posted on the government website (

Several rectorates transmitted these instructions on Monday to school heads. Currently, two of the three school zones are on vacation and the third (academies of Créteil, Montpellier, Paris, Toulouse, Versailles) resumed classes on Monday.

In Paris, Marie (first name changed) and her companion, both school teachers, spent the first week of the February holidays in Italy, between Lombardy and Veneto. During the day, they learned that they were asked to stay at home for the rest of the week and to drop their two children out of school.

"I am a little stunned and annoyed vis-à-vis the parents of students: what are we going to tell them? I don't want a psychosis to set in," said Marie to AFP.

Adults returning from the places concerned must avoid "any non-essential outing (large gatherings, restaurants, cinema ...)", according to the recommendations. They are asked "as far as possible" to favor "telework" and to avoid "close contacts (meetings, elevators, canteen ...)".

- Borders -

These people must also take their temperature twice a day, monitor "the appearance of symptoms of respiratory infection (cough, difficulty breathing ...)" and wear a surgical mask when they are in front of another person. and when they have to go out.

In case of symptoms, they should contact 15 (Samu) and especially not go to their doctor or to the emergency room, "to avoid any potential contamination".

Italy, which went from six to 219 cases in four days and has five dead, is the most affected country in Europe and the third in the world after China and South Korea.

It is also the first country in Europe to have set up a health cordon around ten cities in the North.

A bus from Siena was blocked on Monday in Lyon due to a suspected unfounded coronavirus on board.

Departing from Siena and having as destination Clermont-Ferrand, the vehicle stopped in Milan, Turin and Grenoble before being stopped and put aside at the Perrache bus station. Its passengers were confined inside for six hours, before being evacuated shortly after 1 p.m. in small groups.

The driver had flu symptoms but the coronavirus test which he then underwent was negative.

In addition, the health system will be reinforced in the Alpes-Maritimes, border department of Italy, according to local authorities.

The CHU of Nice must "in the coming hours, be equipped to carry out diagnostics", said the prefect of the department Bernard Gonzalez, after an emergency meeting with elected officials and a representative of the Regional Agency health.

On the other hand, events such as the Nice carnival are maintained.

The situation in Italy has led right and far right politicians to demand border controls with Italy.

The European Commission, however, recalled that this possibility within the EU had to meet strict conditions.

Such a decision, which belongs to the Member States, must be "based on a credible risk assessment and scientific evidence", be "proportionate" and "taken in coordination with others", underlined the European Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic.

© 2020 AFP