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Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2: caring for people living in precarious circumstances

To tackle the Covid-19 pandemic, on 13 March 2020 France decided to confine the whole population to their homes, and limit them to authorised journeys only. These decisions have had a significant impact on the health and welfare of people living in precarious circumstances.

These individuals, regardless of their places of residence (medico-social structures, emergency accommodation, squats, camps, etc.) have neither stable homes nor regular financial resources; their access to food, work, and education is very limited. Their physical and mental state is often fragile and they experience great difficulty accessing prevention and treatment initiatives. These circumstances prevent them from protecting themselves against the risk of the current epidemic and, if they become ill, their treatment is often delayed, with an increased risk of complications due to the prevalence of comorbidities.

In addition to the initiatives already undertaken, the HCSP (Haut Conseil de la santé publique, French High Council for Public Health) is recommending measures for limiting infection linked to living conditions, to allow these individuals to comply with the lockdown, to facilitate the isolation and treatment of the sick and in order to develop mobile teams. The HCSP also recommends ensuring the continuity of current medico-social and nutritional support. It calls for specific initiatives to be undertaken in order to tackle the epidemic, such as providing information and hygiene tools that are tailored to suit the needs of different sections of the public and, for individuals who have contracted the disease, the opening of dedicated centres or sectors.

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