This Week In Monaco: Coronavirus Reporting, Sass Closes, Swiss Quarantine, And Back To School

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Nancy Heslin   Forbes Monaco

Coronavirus School Classroom

As of Saturday, August 22, Monaco has decided to align its reporting of coronavirus cases with that of the World Health Organization and neighboring countries in the region. From now on, all confirmed Covid cases in the government’s daily reports will apply only to Monaco residents affected by the virus. This is a reverse decision from the government’s announcement on Friday that it would breakdown the cases between resident and non-resident.

In terms of the number of tests being carried out, the government told Forbes-Monaco “regarding the period March-April-May, PCR tests, carried out as needed, were 10 to 50 per day. Currently, between 150 to 175 PCR tests are carried out per day, depending on the needs.”

From Thursday to Sunday, 12 positive Covid cases, all Monaco residents, were revealed. Two non-residents and one resident are currently at Princess Grace Hospital Center, and one resident is in intensive care. As of Sunday night, 24 people are being treated under the Home Patient Monitoring Center.

At Sass Café on avenue Princess Grace, owner Samy Sass decided to close down the restaurant Saturday at 8 p.m. despite reservations for 250 people, after four staff members tested positive for coronavirus. He wrote on Facebook, “Since the outbreak of the pandemic our strategy and message was always clear that we will protect all our staff friends and people connected with us in anyway that was possible.

Due to some workers having tested positive today, and in order to safeguard everybody, we have to take the unfortunate decision to close with immediate effect. We will keep you posted when Sass Café we'll be able to reopen.”

With the rise in Covid cases in Monaco over the last few weeks, Switzerland has deemed the country an “area with a high risk of infection” and as of Thursday, August 20, any resident traveling to Switzerland who does not quarantine for 10 days could face a fine of up to CHF 10,000 (€9,300). Travelers must contact the responsible cantonal authority within two days of arrival and at the end of the quarantine.

The Swiss authorities also point out that “a negative test result does not exempt you from the mandatory quarantine requirement or shorten the quarantine period. This is because a negative test result does not rule out an infection with the new coronavirus.”

While the U.K. also has a quarantine for Monaco and French residents (14 days), the embassy has said if you are in the U.K. for less than that period of time, you must remain in self-isolation throughout your stay and may then leave, without using public transport, to reach the airport. It’s unclear if these rules also apply to visiting Switzerland.

With 3,602 new cases reported over 24 hours in France yesterday, France’s health minister said on Sunday that Covid is circulating “four times more among people under 40 in France than among over 65-year-olds.” 

This news comes as French schools are set to reopen for middle schools and high schools on September 1, French education minister Jean-Michel Blanque said on Friday that “education is more important than anything” and assured that students will be welcome back in class with a protocol to “maintain the greatest possible distance between students.”

All students over the age of 11 and teachers must wear masks in enclosed spaces even with social distancing, and schools will supply masks to teachers but not students.

Blanquer also commented that in closed cafeterias, libraries and classrooms, physical distancing won’t be the rule “when it’s not physically possible or doesn’t allow for the accommodation of all students.” 

Regarding teachers wearing masks, the minister also said, “If [wearing a mask] interferes with a lesson, the possibility [of removing it] exists. Wearing a mask can be a constraint for teachers, especially when they have to speak for hours.”

The minister is scheduled to make an update on Wednesday, August 26. 

Students are expected to return to school in Monaco on September 7, while the International School of Monaco reopens on August 31. 

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Nancy Heslin   Forbes Monaco

Nancy Heslin is an established journalist and lifestyle writer. She has been the Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Monaco magazine (bimonthly in English) , since the magazine's 2nd issue . Launched in November 2018, Forbes Monaco is part of the Forbes family, with its 7 million readers and 71 million monthly website visitors worldwide.