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© Direction de la Communication - Michael Alesi

After 49 days of lockdown due to the coronavirus epidemic, life has (almost) returned to normal in Monaco. On 4 May, the Principality embarked on a three-phase easing of the lockdown, supported by a mass testing campaign for its population.

Faced with the COVID-19 global health crisis, on 17 March 2020 Monaco introduced emergency measures to prevent the spread of the virus: schools were closed, then shops – with the exception of those selling basic necessities – and self-isolation, a curfew and border controls were put in place.

Given the reassuring developments in the health situation,* on 27 April Prince Albert II announced plans for lifting the lockdown in the Principality. The Sovereign noted that this would be a “long, restrictive, difficult” process, and one that required an approach which would be “gradual, introduced in stages and subject to conditions”.

“While the epidemic appears to be under control in the Principality, it is nonetheless still very much out there,” warned the Head of State, who contracted and recovered from COVID-19 himself.

© Palais Princier de Monaco
© Direction de la Communication - Michael Alesi

It is for this reason that the Monegasque Government opted for the “stop-and-go” technique, a mechanism that enables a return to economic activity, with an option to take a step back if required.

The first phase began on 4 May with the reopening of government departments, shops, places of worship and all construction sites. The health standards that have been adopted by the Principality are rigorous: “Hand sanitiser everywhere, regular sterilisation of passageways, masks mandatory on public transport and in shops, requirement to maintain a distance of 1.5 m from others, Plexiglas in shops, ongoing checks, no gatherings of more than five people, etc.” states the Government’s list.

Only pupils in priority classes, ranging from primary through to senior secondary level, returned to their desks on 11 May. Nursery schools will not reopen their doors in the near future.

With all signs looking positive, restaurants, cafés, gaming rooms such as the Casino de Monte-Carlo, beaches, museums and exhibition halls will also be able to resume their activities from 2 June.

© Direction de la Communication
© Direction de la Communication - Michael Alesi

Ahead of the lockdown easing, the Monegasque authorities distributed fabric “Made in Monaco” masks to the Principality’s 38,000 residents. The authorities also supplied businesses with protective masks for their staff. Finally, the Principality has put in place a mass coronavirus testing programme for its population. Serological tests, which involve a taking a drop of blood from the fingertip, are intended to determine if a person has come into contact with the COVID-19 virus. This widespread campaign, covering 90,000 people (residents and employees), will support “epidemiological research” and thus help “to guide public health policy,” explained the Government.

* The epidemiological data shows that there have been less than a hundred cases in the Principality and four deaths, including one resident.

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