As COVID cases mount, Parisians line up for free tests at the “beach”

People line up at a free COVID-19 testing site on the bank of the River Seine in central Paris, August 27, 2020. The deck chairs are farther apart, there’s social distancing at the bars, and there’s something entirely new: a free, no-appointment-needed COVID-19 testing center. A total of 30,581 people have died of COVID-19 in France as of Friday, and the country has confirmed almost 300,000 positive tests, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. But it’s not the only reason. CBS/Elaine Cobbe

As the doctor gave them the antibody test results, they looked visibly relieved and gave a thumbs up: “It’s negative!”

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Originally from North Carolina, Allyson is now a schoolteacher in Paris. Only cyclists and joggers were exempted from the rule. More family and social gatherings during the summer vacation period have been blamed for a lot of the spread here. He and his girlfriend Pauline are going to a wedding in two weeks and they felt a test would be the responsible thing to do.”There will be lots of people, so we wanted to make sure we were safe,” he said.Pauline was particularly keen to get the tests: “Someone spat on me when I was sitting on a café terrace, because I wouldn’t give him a cigarette,” she said, still visibly shocked by the incident. Professional contact, which increased as anti-virus measures were eased and some people went back to work, is also considered a major factor, accounting for almost half of France’s new clusters. A colleague told her about the Paris Plage testing site. 

Allyson, an American expat who works as a teacher in Paris, France, speaks to medical workers at a free COVID-19 testing site on the bank of the River Seine after being tested for the coronavirus. 

CBS/Elaine Cobbe

“I wanted to get tested but it’s difficult with the clinics, because there’s so many people. Paris is now one of the highest-risk zones in France, the prime minister confirmed, giving the local authorities the power to re-introduce even more restrictions to try to curb the spread. Paris offers free COVID tests at the “beach,” and an American says that’s “how it should be done”

By Elaine Cobbe

August 28, 2020 / 9:54 AM
/ CBS News

CDC’s new COVID-19 testing guidelines widely criticized

CDC’s new COVID-19 testing guidelines widely … Masks will also have to be worn in the capital’s workplaces and schools, and anyone caught not wearing a mask can be fined $150. 
First published on August 28, 2020 / 9:54 AM CDC criticized over new COVID testing guidance”My heart is bursting with pride and gratitude towards this city and this country and how they are handling this. This year, “Paris Plage” (Paris Beach) has offered a tranquil getaway for city-bound Parisians, but the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic is never far away. She’s going back to work — in the classroom — next week, and said she wanted to be sure she wasn’t carrying the virus back with her.”It’s my second time getting tested, because my nephew went to a party where there were some people who were positive for COVID, so I’m getting re-tested just to be sure,” she said. 01:42

Paris — Every summer, a big section of the walkway along the River Seine in central Paris is transformed into a temporary “beach,” complete with deck chairs, pop-up beach bars and play areas for children. AP/Michel Euler

Every afternoon this month about 200 people have lined up — at least a yard apart — to have both the swab test for an active infection, and a finger-prick test to detect antibodies indicating a previous one. But the prime minister also noted that the majority of the new cases were less severe than in the early weeks of the epidemic in France, with only a small rise in the number of hospitalizations. I am so glad to be here,” she said, her voice breaking with emotion. Get Breaking News Delivered to Your Inbox

“I jog along the quays, so when I saw this and saw how easy it was to get tested, I decided to sign up,” a Parisian named Alexis told CBS News. They get the antibody test results right there within just 10 minutes, while the swab results come online or over the phone within days. A man sun bathes on the “Paris Plage” along the River Seine in central Paris, France, August 9, 2020. 02:27

Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday that 15- to 40-year-olds were the main age group now found to be spreading the virus, often unwittingly. I don’t have to be French, I don’t have to be wealthy, I don’t have to be famous,” she said. As of Friday, masks were mandatory outdoors across Paris. “All I have to be is here, interested, and wanting to protect my community. “This is how it should be done.”

“It’s easy. That’s how easy it can be and that’s how it should be.”More COVID, more rulesIncreased testing drives around the country are part of the reason the number of new cases in France, like many other European nations, is on the rise. He said the 20- to 30-year-old group had the highest positive test rate, at 6%, well above the current national average of 3.8%.This week, 6,111 new cases were recorded in one 24-hour period (Wednesday into Thursday), a record since the end of lockdown restrictions on May 11. What’s amazing here is that, for example, if you don’t have your Social Security number yet or your paperwork in order, it doesn’t matter. Travel chaos in Europe as COVID-19 cases surg… You can be a tourist and get tested for free here, just like that.”Allyson said she was “absolutely” grateful to be in France during the pandemic, rather than in her home country.