PARIS — Greater than a yr after the federal government in France ordered its first nationwide lockdown to struggle again the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities now appear to have little selection however to do the identical once more, as infections rise sharply throughout the nation and hospitals in Paris are overflowing.
President Emmanuel Macron will deal with the nation at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and is anticipated to announce new restrictions, presumably bringing in a 3rd nationwide lockdown, which he has lengthy tried to keep away from.
France on Tuesday reported greater than 5,000 individuals in intensive care items for the primary time since final April, with mattress shortages in hospitals in essentially the most affected areas turning into acute. And the sluggish vaccine rollout has not prevented an outburst of infections, as a median of about 37,000 each day new instances have been reported over the previous week.
“The outlook is worse than horrifying,” Jean-Michel Constantin, the pinnacle of the intensive care unit on the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, advised RMC radio on Monday.
“We’re already on the degree of the second wave and we’re rapidly getting near the brink of the primary wave,” he mentioned. “April goes to be dreadful.”
New restrictions have been launched on the regional degree in mid-March in an try to stave off a 3rd wave of infections, affecting a couple of third of the inhabitants, together with the Paris area. The foundations compelled companies which are thought-about nonessential to shut, ordered residents to restrict their outside actions to locations inside six miles of their houses and banned journey to or from areas the place infections have been rising.
However as infections nonetheless stubbornly rose, stress has been constructing on Mr. Macron to implement more durable measures.
Writing in Le Journal du Dimanche, 41 medical doctors from the Paris area warned that hospitals could quickly grow to be so stretched that they should select which sufferers to attempt to save.
“All indicators present that the present measures are and will likely be inadequate to rapidly reverse the alarming curve of contaminations,” they wrote.
Mr. Macron, in the identical newspaper, mentioned that he would “take a look at the effectiveness of the containment measures within the coming days, and we’ll take others if they’re essential.”
In late January, Mr. Macron made a calculated gamble of resisting a brand new nationwide lockdown, hoping that his authorities might tighten restrictions simply sufficient to struggle again an increase in infections.
That technique gave the impression to be working till mid-March, when infections rose sharply and the vaccination marketing campaign failed to collect velocity, amid the disarray of the rollout of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The well being authorities on Tuesday mentioned that about 8.3 million individuals had acquired a minimum of a primary shot of the coronavirus vaccine, or about 12 p.c of the full inhabitants. The federal government plans to vaccinate 10 million individuals by mid-April and 30 million by the summer time.
However France nonetheless lags behind another Western nations in its vaccine rollout. Britain has vaccinated 46 p.c of its inhabitants and the US 29 p.c, in response to knowledge from The New York Occasions.
Many medical doctors and epidemiologists are calling for a lockdown similar to that of early 2020, when the authorities enforced among the strictest Covid-19 restrictions in Europe, ordering individuals to remain inside apart from a number of exceptions. Colleges, which France has saved open since final June, in contrast to a lot of its neighbors, is also compelled to shut because the virus is more and more spreading in lecture rooms.