Monday, 18 October, 2021


Schools might close for 4 weeks after coronavirus cases rise in France

French President Macron under pressure to lock down as Covid-19 hospitalizations soar Covid 19 coronavirus: France enters lockdown following rapid spread of the virus
Noah Ferguson | 01 April, 2021, 04:39

Professor Antoine Flahault, Director of the Institute of Global Health at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Geneva, told RTL today: "Yes, there are still company canteens open, but schools definitely represent one of the major areas of contamination today, and they can lead to more than 40,000 people becoming infected every day in France".

School closures in particular had been seen as a very last resort, with the president appearing reluctant to bring in the measure and saying children's education was "non-negotiable".

Macron said that it was vital "to vaccinate as quickly as possible, and the most fragile", calling vaccination "the key to reconnect with life, the key to reopen our country".

And yesterday, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care breached 5,000, exceeding the peak hit during a six-week long lockdown in the autumn.

"We have a entered a race [between] on the one side the deployment of vaccination [and] on the other the spread in all of Europe of a new form of virus", he said, referring to the variant originating in the United Kingdom, which he called "an epidemic within the epidemic".

"We're going to close nursery, elementary and high schools for three weeks", he said, adding that a nationwide 7pm - 6am curfew will be kept in place.

And the slow vaccine rollout has not prevented an outburst of infections, as an average of about 37,000 daily new cases have been reported over the past week.

In addition, Macron promised to speed up the vaccination campaign by giving access to all people aged 60 and over in mid-April, those aged 50 and over in mid-May and the rest of the population a month later.

France also used medical evacuations to ease the load on hospitals during the first two waves, but there has been more resistance from families in recent weeks.

A less stringent lockdown was imposed again at the end of October past year, with schools remaining open.

There are more than 1,500 patients in ICU in the Paris region alone.

From Saturday night and for the next four weeks, travel restrictions will be imposed across the whole country and non-essential shops will close in line with measures already implemented in coronavirus hotspots such as Paris, he said.

But he did admit to having "made mistakes" in his handling of the pandemic which he had "learned" from.

Over the last few warm, spring days, the banks of the Seine River in Paris have looked a lot like Venice Beach, Calif., with young people working-out and sunbathing, their masks under their chins. "All of this is true", he said. "I hope we do not have to make choices" between patients.

"It's reckless and unacceptable for only 1% of global arrivals to quarantine in a hotel", said Nick Thomas-Symonds. "Everywhere the virus is spreading faster and faster and everywhere, hospitalizations are rising". Only call NHS 111 if you can not cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days.

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