The French government announced on Tuesday that it would hold emergency meetings this week to discuss the rising number of bedbug cases that have been reported, which are increasingly being viewed as a serious potential public health issue.
In recent weeks, bedbugs in France have changed from being an object of possible scorn to a divisive political issue, with horrified residents reporting encountering the pests in places like trains, the Paris metro, and movie theaters.
With France currently hosting the Rugby World Cup and Paris getting ready to welcome players and spectators from all over the world for the 2024 Olympics, the worries have received further weight.
Bedbug infestations have forced the closure of two schools in Marseille and Villefranche-sur-Saone, both in southeast France, for many days as they are cleaned up, according to local authorities.
The purpose of a conference on Wednesday, which Transport Minister Clement Beaune will hold for organizations representing the transportation and passenger industries, is to “quantify the situation and strengthen the measures,” according to his ministry.
The ministry stated, “We want to inform on the actions taken and act in the service of travelers to reassure and protect.” Following that, an inter-ministerial meeting will be held on Friday, according to government spokesperson Olivier Veran, who pledged to “rapidly bring answers for the French.”
In the meantime, Sylvain Maillard, the leader of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party in the French National Assembly, announced that a cross-party measure would be introduced “at the beginning of December” to address the “scourge” of bedbugs.
He said that the president’s party and its allies had made the issue a “priority” and invited the hard-left and right-wing opposition to offer ideas for a bipartisan statement.
On France Inter radio, Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau emphasized that there was no “general panic” about the situation.