Covid-19: France scales down Bastille Day commemoration

by Emmanuel Huberdeau

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, France will commemorate Bastille Day on 14 July, albeit without a military parade by ground troops and vehicles on the Champs Elysees. Instead, there will be a military ceremony with soldiers standing on the Place de la Concorde. Stands have been temporarily built around the square, where officials will be seated.

Despite having ended the Covid-19 state of emergency on 10 July, the authorities have decided to prepare a different type of military ceremony this year to avoid the crowds that usually gather around the Champs Elysées to witness the parade. The flyover will still take place.

An A400M, photographed during the Bastille Day rehearsals in Orléans on 30 June, will fly over Paris on 14 July. (Janes/Emmanuel Huberdeau)

An A400M, photographed during the Bastille Day rehearsals in Orléans on 30 June, will fly over Paris on 14 July. (Janes/Emmanuel Huberdeau)

France’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic will be one of the major themes of this year’s Bastille Day commemoration. Aircraft used during the crisis will fly over Paris, including the Airbus A330 Phénix Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT). The French Air Force employed the medical evacuation capabilities of the aircraft’s Morphée intensive care unit for the first time in March when it moved a total of 36 Covid-19 patients in six flights from eastern France to less effected areas. The MRTT’s cargo area was adapted to carry Covid-19 patients with the CM30 medical kit.

In addition, 16 seriously ill patients were transported by the French Air Force’s A400M Atlas. One of the service’s A400Ms is still deployed in the West Indies, where the health situation is still serious, to transport patients from French Guiana to Martinique.

A German A400M will also fly over, symbolising Germany’s support of France. On 29 March a Luftwaffe A400M evacuated two Covid-19 patients from Strasbourg, France, to Ulm, Germany, where they were hospitalised.

https://www.janes.com/defence-news/news-detail/covid-19-france-scales-down-bastille-day-commemoration

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, France will commemorate Bastille Day on 14 July, albeit without a mil...

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