Paris (AFP)

Army called even more in reinforcement, first evacuation of patients from the East by medicalized TGV: mobilization intensifies in view of the "difficult days" which still await France in the face of the wave of the epidemic of coronavirus.

In the "war" on the coronavirus, Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday in Mulhouse the launch of Operation Resilience which will mobilize the armed forces to help the population faced with the pandemic which has killed more than 1,300 people in the country, a toll multiplied by five in a week.

Distinct from the Sentinel system which mobilizes daily up to 7,000 soldiers against terrorist risk, this new operation "will be entirely devoted to helping and supporting the populations, as well as supporting public services to deal with the epidemic , in mainland France and overseas, "said the head of state.

On the health side, the armies are already active.

"The whole nation is mobilized" assured Wednesday evening Emmanuel Macron visiting Mulhouse, particularly struck: the head of state, after visiting the military hospital installed on site protected by an FFP2 mask, called for " union "against the virus.

Some 40,000 candidates had also expressed themselves Wednesday morning, 24 hours after the national call launched to compensate for the lack of seasonal workers in agriculture.

The Ministry of Health launched Wednesday evening a call for volunteers to all health professionals, including retirees, to support healthcare workers in their region but also in the areas most affected by the coronavirus.

- Massive investment -

While the medical profession has risen to the front line, Emmanuel Macron has promised a "massive investment plan" for the hospital. The President of the Republic welcomed "the total mobilization" of the caregivers, and guaranteed them "an exceptional bonus to accompany this recognition" as well as to all the civil servants mobilized.

France should expect "difficult days", said the Director General of Health (DGS), Jérôme Salomon, announcing a total of nearly 3,000 patients in intensive care (2,827, or 311 more in 24 hours) : "it is a considerable number, exceptional in such a short time and for a single disease".

The east of France remains particularly affected: a medical TGV, arrived in Strasbourg, must evacuate Thursday to hospitals in the Pays-de-la-Loire twenty patients infected with the coronavirus in order to relieve fully saturated Alsatian hospitals.

But Ile-de-France, from now on, is also facing "major tension" despite "considerable efforts to open still hundreds of beds in intensive care after having already doubled" the number of beds available, he said. highlighted.

The situation is particularly cruel in retirement homes where the number of deaths is not exactly known but is in the tens of deaths. In Ile-de-France alone, of the 700 nursing homes, at least 148 were affected on Tuesday, according to the count of the Regional Health Agency (ARS).

On the tests, France is preparing to change scale: within ten days, promised Professor Salomon, France will have a capacity of 25,000 to 30.00 tests per day, against 9,000 today. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran wants in particular to develop rapid tests with a view to "deconfinement", he explained before the Senate, in order to "know by a blood test which will have been immunized by the virus and which will not will not have been. "

While few experts venture to predict the date of the "peak", a European clinical trial started Sunday in at least seven countries to test four experimental treatments.

- Economic and social shock-

Pending the conclusions of this test, chloroquine, one of the controversial tested treatments, can be administered to patients suffering from "severe forms" of the coronavirus, but not for "less severe" forms.

Faced with this dramatic development, the government will announce "in a few days" the probable extension of the confinement, said government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye.

The scientific council recommended Tuesday to stretch it until April 28.

The Council of Ministers, meeting before a defense council, has also adopted 25 ordinances - a record - to allow the country to limit social and economic damage.

France must prepare for "a long effort", for Edouard Philippe: "It is the health emergency which animates all minds today, but it is also, and it will be more and more, an economic shock , a social shock, "warned the Prime Minister.

© 2020 AFP