France forced to close schools as bedbug infestations ‘piling up’ in major outbreak according to Education Minister.
France has been forced to shut seven schools over growing concerns over an infestation of bedbugs, Education Minister Gabriel Attal said Friday.
Gabriel Attal said an “immediate response” is needed so that institutions can be treated within 24 hours and children can return to class.
In an interview with France 5 television, the minister said bedbugs were detected “at various levels” in 17 institutions, and seven schools are currently closed due to the issue.
“Bedbugs were detected at various levels in… I believe 17 institutions, and currently as I speak to you, seven institutions are closed for this reason,” Attal told France 5 television.
Mr Attal said while there are over 60,000 schools in France and only a few dozen are currently affected, cases are “piling up”.
He added a list of “approved and recognised” companies has been prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and regional health agencies “so that the heads of schools can have the contacts and have them intervene very quickly.”
The French government has held a series of meetings this week to discuss surging numbers of bedbug infestations while the country is hosting the Rugby World Cup and is preparing to host the Paris 2024 Olympics next summer.
Earlier on Friday, the Education Minister told AFP that five schools with a total of 1,500 students had been closed.
Earlier this week, authorities announced that a school in Marseille and another in Villefranche-sur-Saone, near Lyon in southeastern France, had been shut for cleaning.
A municipal library in the northern city of Amiens is due to reopen today after being closed for several days following the discovery of bedbugs in public reading spaces, the city’s mayor Brigitte Foure told AFP.
Paris’s deputy mayor Emmanuel Grégoire said “no one is safe” as infestations have continued to rise due to an uptick in travel and increasing resistance to pesticides.
Skin-crawling footage has gone viral of the bugs not just on beds but on public transport, cinemas and hospitals too.