Prince Albert has called upon the community spirit of all residents of Monaco to assist in defeating any spread of Coronavirus in Monaco – a challenge unprecedented in the history of the Principality.
The Sovereign congratulated the State’s institutions including the Mairie and the health institutions, the Monaco Red Cross and services of the Principality for their work so far. Monaco to-date has kept most of its residents out of harm’s way while countries around it have tragically suffered.
Defeating the Virus
The Sovereign emphasized that the virus does not travel alone. It is carried and spread by people.
And he pointed to new measures in Monaco already now in place, since this Wednesday midnight to avoid “gatherings” of people to limit any opportunity for the virus to spread. Prince Albert II has thus decreed that travel in the Principality should henceforth be limited to the essentials, namely healthcare and food shopping.
The Sovereign Prince made it clear that the way out of this health crisis will depend on your ability to comply with the measures applied. And the measures mirror also the example of France and neighbouring countries where avoiding contact with others has been backed up by severe new decrees otherwise known as “quarantines”.
Interior Minister Patrice Cellario has clarified Monaco’s new measures to contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. The minister re-emphasized that movement throughout Monaco must be restricted to only “essential” trips:
- those required to buy food, to offer assistance to family members,
- to visit a doctor or pharmacy,
- to take dogs for a walk,
- and for individual exercise.
Unlike France, Monaco residents do not need to carry a form to show that their trip outside is necessary and that they are abiding by the new regulations, for example if they are visiting a doctor or pharmacy.
According to Mr Cellario. “We are a small territory, we believe that a call for responsibility by residents and Monegasques is sufficient for everyone to realise the need to ensure that the barrier of transmission of this virus is respected by all.”
Martine Ackerman, President of Child CARE Monaco and Vice President of Monaco Pupils’ Parents Association (Association des Parents d’Elèves de Monaco, APEM) invites everyone to their balcony every evening to sing the Monegasque National Anthem (Hymn) at 7pm to show support for one another. This idea has excited the press and many in the community.
Typically when you shop or go to the pharmacy you will find common sense procedures to limit the number of people in the shop and to put a distance of a metre and a half between you and the next person in the queue.
All group activities, both inside and outside the Principality, will be forbidden, and building sites will be halted. The State services (police) will ensure that the instructions are correctly respected.
Telework and Working in Monaco
As far as businesses are concerned, they should, as far as possible, offer their employees the possibility of teleworking.
“Teleworking will be massively deployed with all employers who, if some refuse it, will have to justify their decision” insists Didier Gamerdinger, Minister of Social Affairs and Health.
The Palais du Justice has closed for a month.
Professional Justification Form
It is mandatory for people where it is still essential to move throughout Monaco for work to carry with them a ‘professional justification’ form. It applies to residents of the Principality as well as those crossing the border to work in Monaco.
While police will be performing checks to ensure large gatherings of people are not taking place and travel is limited to what is strictly necessary, it is reported that Police will not be issuing fines for people who do not comply… but rather just ensuring compliance.
Financial Help for Monaco’s Businesses
Faced with the economic impact of the Coronavirus, € 50 million had been released to help businesses and prevent bankruptcies. Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and the Economy, has already announced: “As we do in health prevention, the Principality also applies buffer measures for the economy … We are in action!” The envelope of 50 Million euros is in the form of a guarantee from the State with banks that are requested for loans by companies in difficulty. “Our goal is to prevent bankruptcies by relieving the cash flow of troubled businesses,” said the Minister.”
This announcement is in addition to the accompanying measures already decreed: the deferral of payment of VAT for two months, partial or total temporary unemployment facilitated with benefits and subsidies, the improvement of bank loans or zero-rate loans granted by banks (and whose interest will be paid by the State) and finally the establishment of a guarantee fund for the loans granted, going from 65% to 100%.
Minister of State and Government Ministers
Even though Serge Telle has tested positive for Coronavirus his state of health is not a cause for concern. He pursues his professional activities now from his home, avoiding all contact. The working meetings with all members of the Government will in future be held by video conference.
In his last live press conference Serge Telle had confirmed that there had been prior close contact with other Ministers and the Palace. Thus other Ministers may be at risk. It is reported that Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance is unwell, though without precise information as to the cause.
Movements from France to MONACO
Patrice Cellario emphasized that movements from France to Monaco ought to be “almost reserved for business”.
And, of course, President Macron Enforces a New Strict Quarantine in France having announced a “war against the Coronavirus” with a newly enforced strict quarantine (confinement) for everyone. Close to 150 people have died in France and over 6.500 have been noticeably infected since the start of the epidemic in the country. For the first time the number of cases in the Alpes Maritimes surpassed 100.
Italy Faces Its Continuing Crisis
Italy, the worst-affected nation in Europe, has more than 27.000 cases and has suffered more than 2,150 deaths. The recent figures showed a continuing rise in infections though at a slower rate.
In Italy, a strict quarantine, like the one just introduced by France, has already been in force for many days. lt is hoped the quarantine will show results and the spiral of increases peak soon and then diminish just as they have now diminished in China.
The US and the UK are playing catch up to Europe, seemingly daily reversing earlier stances of weaker actions to contain the virus and now starting to take more serious steps at containment. Experts predict an alarming death toll in the UK if it does not adopt strict measures like Monaco, France and Italy.
Vaccine Before the Autumn?
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission has commented on hope (not a guarantee, but hope) for a vaccine by the Autumn due to work going on in a German laboratory called Curevac. Let’s all hope!