Trained French dogs successfully sniff out coronavirus

Tests conducted with trained German Shepherds at a veterinary school in Maisons-Alfort (Val-de-Marne) show a 95% success rate in sniffing out the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Weeks of trails have produced positive results at veterinary school and research centre l’École Nationale Vétérinaire in Maisons-Alfort, where researchers say their German Shepherds have been trained to detect coronavirus.

During the trial, the dogs had to identify the presence of the virus by smelling sweat samples taken from subjects who were infected with Covid-19.

The school partnered with hospital Beaujon de Clichy to collect sweat samples from both infected and non-infected subjects. The sweat samples were then used to soak pieces of cotton wool which were placed inside metal cones.

The dogs then used their sense of smell to identify whether the sweat sample inside the cone was infected or not.

In 95% of cases, the dogs were correct.

Source: Trained French dogs successfully sniff out coronavirus

Lockdown works in mysterious ways in ‘the most beautiful town in France’

As the cathedral in Chartres reopens, sacred and profane struggle with Covid-19 constraints

The French poet Charles Péguy described Our Lady of Chartres as a star of the sea, rising above oceans of wheatfields on the plains of La Beauce.

It is more prosaic to approach the Gothic masterpiece from the autoroute, but its majesty is nonetheless stunning.

I visited Chartres because it falls within the 100km “perimeter of liberty” accessible to Parisians under Covid-19 regulations.

The cathedral’s website announced that it would reopen to visitors on the afternoon of May 14th. They would be required to wear masks. Fifty could enter at a time, if they observed social distancing.

The rules changed overnight. The prefecture, the arm of the interior ministry which is responsible for religious affairs, grew alarmed at the prospect of Parisians flocking to the beauty spot 86km to the southwest of the capital.

“This is the contradiction we’ve been living with since the beginning of the epidemic,” Fr Emmanuel Blondeau (56), the rector and parish priest, said. “The state says: ‘Stay at home but go to work. We’re lifting the lockdown but don’t move. Don’t go to Chartres, which is the most beautiful town in France.’”

Father Emmanuel Blondeau, rector of Notre Dame de Chartres cathedral on the day the Gothic and Romanesque church reopened to townsfolk and people wishing to pray. Photograph: Tala Skari
Father Emmanuel Blondeau, rector of Notre Dame de Chartres cathedral on the day the Gothic and Romanesque church reopened to townsfolk and people wishing to pray. Photograph: Tala Skari


They don’t understand what Mass means to Christians. They think it doesn’t matter, but it matters to us

Instead of 50 people, only 10 visitors are allowed to enter the sanctuary at a time. Continue reading “Lockdown works in mysterious ways in ‘the most beautiful town in France’”

US diplomatic retreat deepens with Covid-19 crisis

The Covid-19 epidemic saw the rapid and almost unprecedented erasure of the United States on the international scene in a matter of months. Dedicated since the election of Donald Trump to a transactional vision of international relations, their institutions paralyzed by a deep political divide, the Americans had revived for a few years with their old isolationist tendencies. This trend suddenly accelerated and accentuated with the coronavirus health crisis. The glaring absence of the United States from all attempts to coordinate a global response to the greatest contemporary pandemic already appears to be a turning point of historic magnitude [ . . . ]

Source: US diplomatic retreat deepens with Covid-19 crisis

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