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Future of Enhanced Testing and Masks for All

Eyes were on Monaco after President Macron made his major speech extending the quarantine in France to May 11th when the schools will reopen. Monaco’s quarantine formally ends on May 3rd. Are France and Monaco on the same path or different paths. Looking at the latest pronouncements from government ministers and all the press reports it becomes clear that Monaco and France, if not in exact lock-step, are charting the same direction. 

Schools Reopening 

School start dates are likely to be synchronized so May 11th is the target date. 

Perhaps Monaco’s economy may show signs of life a little earlier than France but essentially the path out of the crisis takes on the same character.

Masks For All

There is a consensus that masks contribute to impeding the spread of the disease particularly if worn by those infected. But there is double protection if everyone wears them outside. No doubt it will be essential to wear masks on public transport and there is a consensus developing that if everyone wears a mask that it makes it safer for the community.

The government has made great strides in making sure there are enough masks for all. In consultation with the National Council, the princely government has confirmed its decision to buy from Bettina, whose premises are located in Monaco, all of its production of reusable fabric masks, ie 80,000 pieces. These are masks that will be suitable for the general public. Health care workers will need and be supplied with more sophisticated masks suitable for their jobs. Masks from Banana Moon have also been purchased. 

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We wait to see what specific regulations will be forthcoming with respect to wearing masks in Monaco and in what circumstances they will be obligatory. The expectation is that we will be wearing them as they are already in rapid distribution. 

Princess Charlene Foundation

Princess Charlene has already taken the initiative with her brother Gareth Wittstock, and distributed around 5.000 masks to the Monegasque population, embroidered with the message “Strong Together”. You may have noticed them at the Condamine market, at the Fontvieille shopping center as well as in other public spaces. The white masks are reusable up to 40 times 

The campaign has garnered immense support on social networks including by ambassadors for the Foundation Charles Leclerc and Pierre Frolla and Scicon Sport the creators of the masks. 

View of Monaco

Testing For Covid-19

100% mass testing for Coronavirus does not yet seem to be part of the central plan, possibly because an assured supply of the best testing procedures is not guaranteed nor the feasibility of testing 100% of the population without challenges. The consensus is moving toward testing those showing symptoms and the vulnerable.

In the future therefore we can expect serology tests in much greater numbers. And France, Italy and Monaco and the whole world is watching closely if tests can predict immunity. That would be a big step forward to assuring safety in the workplace and elsewhere. Awaiting the exact regulations and specific details of Monaco’s plan, we can expect expanded testing to be a fact of life. 30.000 quality tests have already been ordered from Germany and another 30.000 from China. 

Also envisaged is digital tracing on a voluntary basis using the mobile phones of contacts. 

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Restaurants, Bars and Nightclubs

Coffee and aperos and dancing may have to wait awhile. The priority is for other sectors of the economy to be ignited first. Reading the announcements so far it may be a month or two extra to wait, as far as one can “guesstimate.”

Economic Impact in Monaco and the Alpes Maritimes

There are heavy consequences of coronavirus for tourism on Monaco and the surrounding Riviera. Tourism comprises 15% of the economy of Monaco and the Alpes-Maritimes. Reports show the Principality and the Alpes-Maritimes receive 11 million tourists every year with more than 70 million overnight stays, 53% of which are from foreign customers.

It is estimated that 15% of the whole business for the season has already been jeopardized even if confinement ends at mid-May. A jaw-dropping 10 billion euros of turnover is at risk in Monaco and the Alpes Maritimes over the whole tourist season. 

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Coronavirus Infections

The Prince’s Government sadly announced the death of a resident, for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic. He was 72 years old. This is the third coronavirus-related death since the start of the epidemic in the Principality. The Prince’s government wishes to express its full support to the family and friends of this person at this time of great sadness in Monaco.

Four days in a row without any new infections reported leaves the total number infected at 93 of which 8 are in hospital of which two are in intensive care.

People with mild symptoms are asked to self-isolate at home while being medically monitored. To date, 108 patients are being monitored by the Home Patient Follow-up Centre.

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