Macron will address the nation at 8 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) as he faces mounting criticism over his approach to the current Covid-19 outbreak. His administration preferred regional restrictions to strict national restrictions imposed in other European countries, against the advice of the French scientific council.
A national 7 p.m. curfew is in place, while non-essential businesses are closed and travel restricted in 19 of mainland France’s 96 departments, but there are few other measures to slow the rapid pace of the business. infection across the country.
Macron, who is due for re-election next year, justified the strategy by saying the country must take into account the impacts on mental health and the economy by crafting a balanced response to the third wave.
But today, more than 28,000 people are treated in hospital for Covid-19 in France, including 5,072 in intensive care units (ICU), according to data from the French Ministry of Health. This is the first time since April last year that the number of intensive care patients has exceeded 5,000.
There are more than 1,500 intensive care patients in the Paris region alone.
Doctors wrote that they had “never experienced such a situation, even during the worst terrorist attacks in recent years”, and said there was a “glaring mismatch between needs and available resources”, in what they called a “disaster”.
Much of Europe has struggled to contain a third wave of Covid-19, in part fueled by new variants that early studies have found are more transmissible and possibly deadlier than previous ones. Like many member countries of the European Union, France has implemented a slow vaccination program, with pharmaceutical companies failing to meet their targets of delivering tens of millions of vaccines.
Macron said last week that accelerating vaccination was a “national priority”, but he also admitted that European countries had lacked “ambition” when it came to purchasing vaccines.
Veterinarians and dentists have been allowed to administer Covid-19 vaccines in the country since Friday in order to “speed up the campaign”. More than 7.5 million people in France, or about 11% of its population, have received at least one injection of a two-dose regimen, according to government data.
CNN’s Martin Goillandeau contributed to this report.