In a final decision, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has unanimously rejected an applicant’s objections to the handling by the French State of the Covid-19 health crisis.
The Court observed that the applicant was complaining about the measures taken by the French State to curb the propagation of the Covid-19 virus among the whole population of France, but had not shown how he was personally affected.
It did not accept the applicant’s complaint that domestic law appeared to contravene the European Convention on Human Rights. The applicant failed to produce reasonable and convincing evidence of the likelihood that any violation affecting them personally might occur.
The applicant, Renaud Le Mailloux, is a French national who was born in 1974 and lives in Marseille.
The spread of the coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 disease in France has led the French authorities to adopt various measures to prevent and mitigate the effects of the threat to public health. The Aix and Region Medical Union (SMAER) and two private individuals, considering the measures adopted insufficient, lodged an urgent application for the protection of a fundamental freedom with the Conseil d’État seeking an injunction on the State to take the requisite action to provide doctors and health professionals with FFP2 and FFP3 facemasks, surgical masks for patients and the population as a whole, and mass screening facilities for all. They also wanted the State to authorise doctors and hospitals to prescribe and administer the hydroxychloroquin and azithromycin drug combination to high-risk patients, and medical laboratories to conduct screening tests.
The applicant complained of the failure by the State to fulfil its positive obligations to protect the lives and physical integrity of persons under its jurisdiction. He complained in particular of restrictions on access to diagnostic tests, preventive measures and specific types of treatment, and interference in the private lives of individuals who were dying of the virus alone.