France’s health minister has urged the public not to panic as both France and Belgium succumb to a plague of blood-sucking bedbugs.
Paris, Brussels, Charleroi and Liège have all been confirmed as being hit by the sudden increase of the parasitic insects, which often feed off their human hosts at night while they sleep.
French health minister Aurélien Rousseau has appealed for public calm.
“I think that this is not a reason for general panic,” he said regarding the spread of the bugs, although he did admit that finding them in one’s home can be “hell”.
He was also quick to shoot down any suggestion that mass migration into France or Europe could be partly responsible for the surge, labelling such a claim “racist”.
According to media reports, bedbugs have been spotted in people’s homes, cinemas and trains, as well as in the Paris Métro and the waiting area of Charles de Gaulle airport.
The creatures are also believed to have made their way to Belgium, with the European heartland of Brussels said to have also fallen victim to the blood-sucking pests.
While many are making light of the situation online, the infestation comes at a particularly bad time for France.
Currently hosting the 2023 Rugby World Cup and due to host the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris next year, the plague has resulted in bad PR for country, with numerous international outlets now running stories on the infestation.
This has prompted French authorities to declare war on the insects, with the First Deputy Mayor of Paris Emmanuel Grégoire demanding that all of France take action against the “scourge of bedbugs”.
A year before the Olympic Games in Paris, experts say there is a worrying lack of security personnel. https://t.co/NsfgRJfVp4
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 29, 2023