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Covid-19: justice judges the State at fault for not having made sufficient stocks of masks before the epidemic – Le Monde

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The State committed a fault, by not maintaining a sufficient stock of surgical masks, before the Covid-19 epidemic, then by suggesting that their wearing was useless, estimated, Tuesday June 28, the administrative court of Paris . “The State has committed a fault by refraining from constituting a sufficient stock of masks to fight against a pandemic linked to a highly pathogenic respiratory agent”, affirmed the court in its decision. Read the decryption: End of the mask in transport: update on the almost total easing of restrictions linked to Covid-19 In addition, the court ruled that “government statements indicating, at the start of the health crisis, that it was not useful, for the general population, to wear a mask were at fault, given their contradictory nature with the available scientific data”. Claims for compensation rejected The justice had been seized of 34 requests questioning the responsibility of the State in the prevention and management of the initial phase of the health crisis due to SARS-CoV-2. In the first months of the pandemic, in the spring of 2020, vagueness reigned over the interest in wearing surgical masks to protect against Covid-19 or avoid spreading it. While stocks were insufficient, the government had chosen to reserve the masks for caregivers directly exposed to the sick. With a state stock of around 100 million units, France quickly found itself destitute, sometimes leaving health professionals and other exposed trades, such as supermarket cashiers, helpless. Critics have also targeted the government’s fluctuating communication on the subject. First “useless” for the general public, the mask finally became compulsory in closed places in July 2020 and became widespread everywhere at the end of the summer of the same year. The details of the first months: Coronavirus: how the authorities’ discourse on masks has largely changed The thirty or so complainants argued that this attitude had directly contributed to their catching Covid-19. But justice has only partially given them reason. If it recognizes that the State has faulted in its management of the masks, the court judges on the other hand that a direct link cannot be established with the contaminations of the complainants. It therefore rejected the plaintiffs’ claims for compensation. Justice underlines three points: the “random” nature of the transmission of the virus, the observation that a mask does not protect against Covid-19 for sure and, finally, the fact that the State has taken, at the At the time, other measures likely to limit contamination, such as encouragement to maintain physical distances. The administrative court also considered that other accusations on crisis management, such as that of not having launched generalized screening early enough, were unjustified. The World with AFP

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