Coronavirus: France on the verge of second lockdown as the dead explode

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Emmanuel Macron is expected to address the nation at 8 p.m. tonight to outline measures on how France will tackle the second wave (Photo: Reuters / Metro.co.uk)

The French president is believed to be set to announce a new national lockdown today.

Emmanuel Macron is expected to address the nation at 8 p.m. tonight to define measures on how France will tackle the second wave of coronavirus.

The country is experiencing a huge spike in infections, and there are concerns that the UK will soon experience a similar trend after its statistics mimicked those of France with a two-week delay in the pandemic’s first peak.

France now reports more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people each week, and nearly 18% of its tests now come back positive.

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It reported the third highest number of coronavirus deaths in Europe, with more than 35,000 lives lost.

Yesterday, the country reported 523 deaths in 24 hours, the country’s highest daily death toll since April.

Doctors describe increasing pressure on emergency departments and intensive care units, where Covid-19 patients now occupy 54% of beds nationwide.

French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said: “No one disagrees with our goal, which is to absolutely prevent our hospitals from being in a situation where they cannot admit new patients. “

The graph shows an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in France

This graph shows a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in France over the past two months (Photo: MailOnline)

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 27: People have a drink on a restaurant terrace shortly before the 9 p.m. nighttime curfew throughout the city during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on October 27, 2020 in Paris, France.  Ten days after the establishment of a curfew in the region as the coronavirus continues to circulate in France.  Even though 54 French departments imposed a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Saturday, a record number of daily cases for the country have been reported in recent days.  The French government has said it cannot rule out another lockdown if the situation does not improve.  French President Emmanuel Macron will deliver a televised speech to the nation on Wednesday to announce new measures in the fight against COVID-19.  measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic.  (Photo by Chesnot / Getty Images)

There is currently a 9 p.m. curfew in major cities across France, including Paris – but these measures are expected to be extended later today (Photo: Getty Images)

It comes after French Prime Minister Jean Castex, senior ministers and businesses hold emergency meetings as hospitals fill up and doctors call for help.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin told France-Inter radio that “we must expect difficult decisions”.

Local media are reporting that the French government is planning a new one-month nationwide lockdown.

But President Macron could instead introduce a new set of local measures and extend curfews across the country.

His office would not comment on what the new restrictions would entail, but it is believed they will be “more flexible” than the full lockdown earlier this year.

PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 27: Passengers wearing face masks use a mobile walkway in the corridors of the metro shortly before the 9 p.m. nighttime curfew throughout the city during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on October 27, 2020 in Paris, France.  From October 28, the public transport network in the Paris region will be reduced to one in two metro stations after 9 p.m., ten days after a curfew was put in place in the region as the coronavirus continues to circulate in France.  Even though 54 French departments imposed a 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew on Saturday, a record number of daily cases for the country have been reported in recent days.  The French government has said it cannot rule out another lockdown if the situation does not improve.  President Emmanuel Macron will deliver a televised speech to the nation on Wednesday to announce new measures in the fight against COVID-19.  (Photo by Chesnot / Getty Images)

France yesterday reported its highest daily death toll since April (Photo: Getty Images)

FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron chairs a meeting with medical staff at the René Dubos hospital center in Pontoise, Val d'Oise, France on October 23, 2020 as the country faces a new wave COVID-19 infections. Ludovic Marin / Pool via REUTERS / File Photo

The French government, including President Macron, is expected to announce new lockdown measures (Photo: Reuters)

Sources suggest that new measures could include lengthening existing curfews, full weekend or week-long containment and shutting down non-essential businesses.

Schools are believed to be allowed to remain open regardless of the new measures.

France was taken off the UK’s ‘travel lanes’ list in August, meaning people traveling from France and Britons returning from vacation must self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.

Anyone traveling to France will need to complete a “sworn declaration” form to confirm that they have no symptoms of Covid-19 and have not been in contact with someone who has tested positive in the past two weeks.

Self-isolation for those traveling from the UK is currently not required upon entry into France. But all of the country’s rules, including wearing masks and obeying curfews, must be followed by foreigners.

9 p.m. curfews have already been imposed on some of France’s largest cities – including Paris, Toulouse and Lyon – which have reportedly kept anti-lockout protests at bay.

But other countries in Europe, especially Italy, have seen the protests turn violent, such as in Rome, Turin and Milan.

The World Health Organization has warned that Europe is the new epicenter of the second wave of Covid-19, after Metro.co.uk reported that the daily number of cases in 22 European countries reached a record high .

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