by Caroline Pailliez

QUIBERON, Morbihan (hooly-news.com) – Glasses of beer and phones in hand, dozens of young people swayed their hips on Saturday July 18 to the sound of electro pop music, under the green and red beams of light from the Hacienda Café, a bar club of Quiberon, in Morbihan, according to a video watched by hooly-news.com.

The establishment was almost full on this summer evening, making it difficult to comply with physical distancing measures between groups of friends, according to several young people present on site, met by hooly-news.com.

One of them, an economics student who worked for the summer at a supermarket bakery, did not linger, overwhelmed by a headache. Three days later, the young man, aged 19, was diagnosed positive for the coronavirus.

This is the first case detected on the almost island of Quiberon. In the days that followed, dozens of other young people, who had attended the establishment in particular, tested positive.

The Regional Health Authority (ARS) announced Wednesday that 72 cases could be closely or remotely linked to the group of friends. Forty people have been diagnosed in Quiberon and 37 others at home.

The Morbihan prefecture closed the establishment for two months. The town hall initially prohibited access to the beaches from 9:00 p.m. to avoid nighttime crowds. The ARS has set up a mobile screening center.

“After a school year, after university, they want to party. We understand them. However, the 2020 summer season will not be the same as 2019, it should not be”, warned the prefect of Morbihan, Patrice Faure.

Thursday, the town hall announced that the “cluster” of Quiberon was under control. The contamination rate was less than 2% in the last two days, lower than in other seaside resorts, according to the first deputy mayor, Gildas Quendo, who pushed back the closing time of the beaches to 11:00 p.m.

FIREPLACES IN EUROPE

As in Quiberon, many sources of contamination are beginning to reappear in Europe, while containment measures had made it possible to sharply reduce the number of coronavirus infections.

Some of these homes – from Barcelona to the north of France or even in Germany – are popular vacation spots for young people.

In Spain, the situation has prompted the authorities to take a series of measures aimed at limiting nightlife, such as curfews, limits on reception capacities or measures of distancing on dance floors.

Catalonia, badly affected, closed its nightclubs last week and imposed the closure of bars at midnight. The authorities have also promised fines of up to 15,000 euros for young people who indulge in “botellon” – improvised aperitifs in the streets.

In Germany, where nightclubs and large gatherings are still banned in most cities, authorities are trying to limit open-air parties in parks and squares.

The city of Hamburg has banned the sale of alcohol in stores after 8 p.m. In Frankfurt, the country’s financial capital, 39 people were arrested earlier this month after altercations with police late at night. In Berlin, the police put an end to an illegal “rave party” involving 3,000 people.

The clusters – there are 151 in France being investigated, according to the agency Public Health France – resurface the fear of a rebound in the epidemic, with its health and economic consequences.

QUARANTINE

All week before the first symptoms, the young 19-year-old economics student, who prefers to remain anonymous to avoid being stigmatized, went with his friends to the Hacienda Café before continuing the evening on the beach.

“We had the right to do so. The beach was open. We were not illegal,” he said.

On Saturday morning he started having a migraine and took paracetamol to get to the party, thinking it was a build-up of fatigue. He says he only stayed in the establishment for about an hour.

On Monday, still ill and unable to go to work, he went to a doctor to get time off work, who told him to go for the test in a hospital.

The next morning the results showed he was positive. He was placed in quarantine in an apartment in Lorient for a week, the time to make sure he was no longer contagious.

Aware since the start of the summer season of the risks associated with the epidemic, the student assures that he tried to limit relations with people he did not know, always rubbing shoulders with the same circle of friends.

The prefect of Morbihan, Patrice Faure, clarified that the club, which was registered as a discotheque, did not have the right to open – the nightclubs were not “deconfined” in France – even if it respected bar hours, that is to say it closed around 1:00 am.

The manager, Eric Adami, assures that he was not aware of these regulations. He regrets the situation, especially since other bars, according to him, have organized dance parties but were not caught in the act. “We got caught,” he told hooly-news.com, “it’s very difficult to live with. I’m at zero morale.”

YOUTH PROGRESSION

In France, the number of new cases of weekly coronavirus contamination is at its highest since mid-May, even if it is still very far from the peaks of March and April.

This progression of virus transmission particularly affects 15-44 year olds. Six weeks ago, four out of 100,000 people in this category were infected. Today is double.

The number of patients hospitalized for a Covid-19 infection, however, continues to decline, with young people less likely to develop symptoms. The risk, however, is that they pass the virus on to loved ones.

“One of the great challenges we are facing at the moment is to convince young people of the risks associated with the epidemic,” said this week the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We have said it before and we continue to say it: young people are not invincible. Young people can be infected, they can die, and they can transmit the virus to other people.”

Tuesday afternoon, the young 19-year-old student who had just finished his week of quarantine, recovered his things in the campsite where he was staying for the summer, to spend a week off with his parents in Rennes. Need to get away for a while from the agitation caused by the emergence of the cluster. Feeling of being unfairly singled out by the authorities. “It was not a will to harm, he said, it was a will to live.”

(Additional reporting by Nathan Allen in Madrid, John Irish in Paris, Maria Sheahan in Berlin and Stephanie Ulmer-Nebehay in Geneva; editing by Henri-Pierre André)