France sets up online advice site for people worried they have coronavirus

France has launched a new website with advice for people worried they may have coronavirus.

The site, approved by the French health ministry, offers a way for people to get more information about whether they need medical attention or may be suffering from coronavirus.

France is currently not doing blanket testing of the population, and only people who fit a fairly narrow set of criteria are tested.

READ ALSO Coronavirus testing in France – how does it work and who gets tested?

Screengrab maladiecoronavirus.fr

France’s health minister Olivier Véran has admitted that the lack of widespread testing means that the number of confirmed cases in France – currently more than 16,000 – is a serious underestimate of the number of people who actually have it.

The test was developed as a medical guide, and to offer advice to people who are worried. Although the site cautions users that it does not offer a firm diagnosis and is not intended as a replacement for a medical consultation.

“The test is not a diagnosis, but rather a health assessment so that people know where to turn,” Dr. Fabrice Denis, a member of the newly established Digital Alliance Against COVID-19, which developed the test, told AFP.

The site (which is in French) asks a number of questions about symptoms, whether people have a cough, a fever, fatigue, a loss of the sense of smell and other possible indicators of coronavirus.

It then asks for general health information such as age, height and weight and then assesses the risk of the patient by asking about underlying conditions such as diabetes, serious respiratory illness or any illnesses that suppress the immune system.

Based on your answers it then offers medical advice such as whether you should contact your doctor or an ambulance or whether you are not at risk.

The test can be accessed online here.

In general the medical advice is that if you believe you have coronavirus and have serious symptoms including difficulty breathing you should call the ambulance number – 15.

If you believe you have the illness but have less serious symptoms contact your usual doctor by phone, or set up an online appointment. Do not go to hospital or your doctor’s surgery, and try to avoid leaving your home if at all possible.

You can also get advice about non-medical matters from the coronavirus helpline – 0800 130 000.

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