France reflects on more COVID borders as intensive care beds fill up

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PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron met with senior cabinet ministers on Tuesday to discuss possible additional restrictions to fight a second wave of coronavirus sweeping France.

France, like neighboring Spain and Britain, is seeking to slow the spread of the virus and ease the strain on a again strained healthcare system while maintaining its € 2.3 trillion economy (2, $ 71 trillion) open and protecting jobs.

It reported more than 1,500 COVID-19 patients in intensive care on Monday, a level not seen since the end of May.

Macron will speak on national television Wednesday evening and his Prime Minister, Jean Castex, refused to rule out local lockdowns.

“Nothing should be out of place when you see the situation in which our hospitals find themselves,” Castex told France Info radio on Monday.

Major newspapers Le Monde and Le Figaro reported that curfews in COVID hotspots were an option, a possibility raised last month by the Scientific Council which advised the government.

The five largest cities in France – Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse and Lille – are among the nine metropolises already on high alert, which means bars and gyms are closed and restaurants are operating under sanitary conditions. strict.

Data from health authorities shows the proportion of COVID tests returned positive has climbed to nearly 12% nationwide. A rate of less than 5% shows control of the spread, according to health experts.

“Everything is being examined, nothing can be excluded,” said Marlene Schiappa, a young minister in charge of Citizenship, on LCI television when asked about a possible curfew.

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Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Andrew Cawthorne

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