Coronavirus could overwhelm France, warns senior doctor

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Paris (AFP)

France will face a months-long coronavirus epidemic that will overwhelm its health system if something does not change, one of the country’s leading medical figures warned on Sunday.

“The second wave is coming faster than we thought,” said Patrick Bouet, head of the National Council of the Order of Physicians, to the weekly Journal du Dimanche.

New restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the disease in the worst affected areas of the country, including the Mediterranean city of Marseille and the Paris region, have met local resistance.

Bouet told the newspaper that the warnings issued this week by Health Minister Olivier Veran did not go far enough.

“He did not say that in three to four weeks, if nothing changes, France will face a generalized epidemic throughout its territory, for several long autumn and winter months,” Bouet said.

There would be no medical personnel available to provide reinforcements and the French health system would not be able to meet all the demands placed on it, he warned.

The health workers responsible for the spring “miracle” could not fill these gaps, he added.

“Many of them are exhausted, traumatized. ”

The French health service recorded 14,412 new cases on Saturday in the past 24 hours – slightly less than the record of 16,000 recorded on Thursday and Friday.

But in the past seven days, 4,102 people have been hospitalized, of which 763 are being treated in intensive care.

On Saturday, the owners of Marseille bars and restaurants demonstrated in front of the city’s commercial courthouse against the forced closings which are expected to begin tonight.

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