Over 10,000 police officers across France are in isolation due to fears they may have the Wuhan coronavirus, according to a police union which said there had been 257 confirmed cases so far.
Stanislas Gaudon, the spokesman for the police union Alliance, announced on Tuesday that 10,131 officers were in confinement. He stated that the union had been telling French authorities since late February that officers working on the front lines need medical masks.
“There has been a commitment from the Ministry of the Interior to deliver a million masks within a few days. But we have lost too much time,” Gaudon said.
While a significant number of officers were self-isolating over coronavirus fears, only 257 cases had been tested and proven so far — in part a feature of the shortage of testing kits worldwide.
Mr Gaudon also went on to note that while the majority of people across France have respected the lockdown measures enacted by President Emmanuel Macron, there have been “pockets of resistance”, franceinfo reports.
Paris No-Go Zone Police Overwhelmed Attempting to Enforce Quarantine https://t.co/YYq4q25zp7
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Among the neighbourhoods that Gaudon claimed were resisting the measures was the infamous no-go Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis. Police have previously claimed to have felt overwhelmed trying to enforce the lockdown measures among the area’s high migrant-background population.
“There are certain districts in Seine-Saint-Denis, in Essonne, but also in the provinces, where there is hostility towards the police and the authority of the State. Again this weekend, we witnessed an ambush, where a car was burned, and they waited until the firefighters and the police arrived to throw extremely dangerous [fireworks] at them,” he said.
Police officers in France have also been subjected to attacks from members of the public resisting lockdown measures including a man in Montpellier who spat towards officers while claiming to have coronavirus.
A woman in the commune of Longjumeau was also handed down a seven-month prison term for a similar incident in which she spat at officers while calling them “dirty whites” at a checkpoint.