France imposes new national lockdown as Covid-19 cases rise

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French President Emmanuel Macron looks on while awaiting the arrival of the Estonian Prime Minister before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on October 28. Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron will announce tonight “a new step in our fight against the virus which was decided this morning,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.

Local media, including French newspaper Le Monde, report that a new lockdown will be announced by the president in an address to the nation on Wednesday at 8 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET). CNN affiliate BFMTV reports the new measures could last four weeks and go into effect as early as Thursday evening.

This potential lockdown would be less stringent than the first ‘lockdown’ in the spring, with the possibility that some schools and more businesses will remain open.

The French Federation of Hospitals, a group representing 4,800 hospitals, said in a press release on Wednesday that a full lockdown was the “only solution” that would allow French hospitals to “successfully treat all French people, whether they are affected. of Covid, that they have one. other serious illness or are affected by a serious accident. “

The President of the French Federation of Hospitals, Frédéric Valletoux, speaking on French radio France Inter, stressed that “the French hospital system will not hold up without radical measures”. Reiterating that the federations are calling for a full lockdown, Valletoux said hospitals are grappling with lower numbers of medical staff than in the spring.

What the numbers look like: France could see around 100,000 new cases of coronavirus per day, warned Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the French government, on Monday. Speaking to French RTL radio, Delfraissy said: “There are probably more than 50,000 cases per day, we estimate in the scientific council that we are more than around 100,000 cases per day, twice as many, because beyond of the diagnosed cases, there are many undiagnosed and asymptomatic cases. ”

Delfraissy added that France is in a “very difficult, even critical situation”.

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