A leading doctor in France believes the country should expect a coronavirus outbreak similar to Italy, warning the way patients are handled could increase the risk of an epidemic.
Eric Caumes, professor of infectious and tropical diseases at the Pitié-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, says that the country needs to rethink how it handles coronavirus as the bug spreads across Europe.
It follows news that France has recorded its second death, a 60-year-old man, who died in a Paris hospital earlier this week.
When asked if France should fear further contamination, the diseases expert said it was “unstoppable” and that a similar scenario to that of Italy was likely.
He told Le Parisien: “Yes, we risk experiencing the Italian scenario. It is unstoppable. I say it and I repeat it. By rushing patients into hospitals, the epidemic will increase. We will have to change our strategy.
“Let people who do not have serious forms stay at home! This will prevent contamination as we know it in Italy or in China.
“Today, we are exhausted with people with runny noses while their presence in the hospital can infect more fragile people.”
The virology expert also advised that people “must stop shaking hands, wash our hands better and open the windows to ventilate our homes” as it Covid-19 is “difficult to detect”.
He also urged caution around the demographics of those dying from the virus, criticising misinformation around patients and creating further panic.
Prof Caumes said: “I feel like we’re doing everything we can to spread panic. Why do health authorities not say that patients who die in Italy are often 80 years old, cancers or other pathologies?”
Fears intensified over the spread of coronavirus in Europe as France reported its second death and the number of people in Italy with the virus continued to climb.
Meanwhile, authorities in Italy have reported that the number of people infected in the country grew to 400 and 12 people have now died.
Austria, Croatia and Switzerland also reported their first cases linked to the outbreak in Italy, while Spain and France recorded new ones, also involving people who had been to northern Italy.