French New Year's honours list dominated by those fighting Covid

·2-min read

Nearly two-thirds of the 3,884 people recognised by the French Republic in the annual New Year's Day announcement of the Légion d'honneur have been decorated for their involvement in the fight against the coronavirus epidemic.

Most of the health professionals awarded the French Republic's highest distinction on Friday were described as "working in the background" by the chancellery of the Legion of Honour.

They include doctors, hospital directors, epidemiologists, managers of care homes, nurses, emergency helicopter pilots and some business leaders ... all linked by their exceptional investment in providing help to those affected by the epidemic. Add to that other front-line health workers, researchers, providers of equipment, and those making numerous essential contributions.

From research labs to the front line

Among those named Knights of the Legion of Honour are the infectious diseases specialist Karine Lacombe and the epidemiologist Eric d'Ortenzio.

Similarly honoured is the boss of the French passenger rail service, Christophe Fanichet, for his part in organising the transfer of dangerouly ill patients out of zones in which the emergency care services were close to saturation.

Forty of the medical personnel receiving the Legion of Honour are posthumous recipients, all having lost their lives through Covid infection contracted in the exercise of their professional duties.

Also mentioned ...

The New Year's honours list reward excellence in other sectors, too.

The singer Michel Sardou and the photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand are both named Commanders of the Legion of Honour.

Opera singer Roberto Alagna and his pop counterpart Angélique Kidjo are awarded the grade of Officer, while the film-makers Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano join journalist Carole Gaessler in the list of Knights.

Two Nobel Prize winners, the economist Esther Duflo and the chemist Emmanuelle Charpentier have been awarded the status of Commander.

The top award, that of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour, goes to two former resistance fighters, Hubert Faure and Anne-Marie Krug-Basse.