President Emmanuel Macron has warned that tough new measures may be necessary to contain a new wave of coronavirus in areas of France where infections and deaths continue to rise.
The French leader said on Monday that “new decisions” will be made in the coming days to curb the spread of the virus.
He said he had asked his government to work quickly to give “our citizens some visibility” of any new restrictions.
Parisians were warned that the French capital, one of several areas of concern, faces a new lockdown if the situation continues to worsen.
The warnings came as Macron announced that France would join a growing list of countries that would suspend use of the Anglo-Swedish AstraZeneca vaccine for fear of side effects.
The move threatens to further delay the already dangerously slow rollout of the vaccine in France, which has been widely criticized.
The French capital and its surroundings have been hit by a “very violent third wave” of coronavirus, the president of the regional authority said on Monday.
Valérie Pécresse, president of the Île-de-France region, which includes Paris, said the area was now “on probation” in regards to a new blockade.
“The English variant, which is now the majority of [new] cases, it is not only more contagious, it is also more deadly, ”Pécresse told French television. “Our intensive care capacity is saturated,” he added.
He said that it was the government that had to decide, but that nothing, including the total closure of the city and surrounding towns, could be excluded.
“If the measures are justified and proportionate, I will not oppose them.”
As the number of new cases rose to nearly 400 out of 100,000 people in Paris, and higher is that of some surrounding banlieue, authorities said a new patient was admitted to intensive care every 12 minutes.
Bruno Riou, crisis medical director for the Paris public hospital authority AP-HP, said the situation was becoming “very worrying.”
“It’s not out of control yet, but it will be,” Riou told France Inter radio. “I hear many people say that another week that passes without a lockdown is another week that we have won. I do not share that analysis; for me, it’s a lost week. “
This weekend, health officials began moving patients from the intensive care departments of hospitals in the Île-de-France region to other areas with more beds.
“At present, only two effective ways of dealing with this epidemic are known: confinement or vaccination. And the vaccination will not take effect for several months, while here we are talking about weeks, “added Riou.
By Saturday night, France had vaccinated just over 5 million people with one dose and 2.2 million with two doses. The country has received more than 10.8 million doses of various Covid-19 vaccines.
A study by Ipsos pollsters for the state broadcaster France Télévisions found that half of the 18 to 25-year-olds surveyed felt “very isolated” since the start of the epidemic. More generally, 69% said they found the situation very difficult to live with.
Among the most worrying figures is that 9% said they had lost their job and 7% admitted to having dropped out of school during the health crisis. Young people said they had more difficulties due to a lack of social life, but that Covid had had very little impact on their love life or their health.
Around this time last year, France entered a strict three-month national lockdown that slowed the spread of the virus. The restrictions were lifted last fall when schools reopened, but most other buildings and services, including restaurants, bars, museums, cinemas and gyms, have remained closed since a second closure last October, though people have had the freedom to move outside the hours of a 6:00 p.m. M. At 6:00 a. M. Curfew.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism