France to rollout fresh restrictions amid spike in COVID patients at ICUs

PARIS — France is set to announce new coronavirus restrictions, including a potential lockdown in the Paris region and in the north of the country, as the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units spikes.

“We will make the decisions we need to make,” French President Emmanuel Macron said yesterday while visiting the hospital of Poissy and Saint-Germain-en-Laye, west of Paris. He added the new measures will be “pragmatic, proportionated and targeted.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex is scheduled to detail the restrictions this evening.

The virus is rapidly spreading in the Paris region, where the rate of infection has reached over 420 per 100,000 inhabitants and ICUs are closed to saturation. France’s nationwide infection rate is about 250 per 100,000.

As during previous infection peaks, health authorities have organized transfers of critically ill patients to less-affected regions to ease some of the pressure on hospitals in Paris and in northern and southern France.

People in France have been under a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. nationwide curfew for two months.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s government had hoped the measure would prevent the country of 67 million people from the economic, social and psychological impact of another lockdown.

Yet confirmed virus cases and ICU demand both have risen steadily in recent weeks. The more contagious virus variant first identified in the UK accounts for most cases, and around 250 people are dying each day from the virus.

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