Published On: Wed, Apr 1st, 2020

Threats, attacks, break-ins: French union chief sounds alarm on spike in violence against pharmacy staff amid Covid-19

Violent behavior against pharmacy workers has surged since strict quarantine was imposed in France in order to quell Covid-19, the country’s pharmacist association chief has said.

“The situation has deteriorated. Isolation tends to exacerbate fear, anxiety and aggression,” Carine Wolf-Thal, the head of France’s National Chamber of Pharmacists told Le Parisien newspaper on Wednesday.

Our system… shows a 50 to 60 percent increase in aggressive action [against pharmacists] since the beginning of the isolation regime compared to the same weeks last year. These actions include insults, threats, but also physical attacks and break-ins.

Wolf-Thal said that the spike in violent behavior toward staff at pharmacies is “outrageous,” considering that the Chamber has mobilized around 55,000 of its professionals to serve the public during the pandemic.  

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French media reported earlier that pharmacies have been overwhelmed with people rushing to buy face masks, hand sanitizers and drugs such as paracetamol, which is used to treat pain and fever. In some cases, the pharmacies ran out of stock due to delays in production and delivery.

On March 16, President Emmanuel Macron imposed a two-week nationwide quarantine, which is being enforced by police officers patrolling the streets.

Overall, 52,128 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in France, while 3,523 patients have died.

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