France announces new regional lockdowns
The French government has placed Dunkirk and Nice under weekend lockdowns, and Paris may soon follow suit.
French health minister Olivier Véran announced on Wednesday a new lockdown in the city of Dunkirk and the Hauts de Flandres region for the next to weekends.
The decision was made alongside local officials due to the “worrying and alarming” situation in the city’s hospitals.
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The Alpes Maritimes region in the south of France is also affected by these measures, with Nice going into partial lockdown for the next two weekends.
Paris may soon follow suit, as the city hall is set to propose a three-week lockdown to the government, with the aim of being able to open all restaurants and cultural sites when it is lifted.
President Emmanuel Macron in January had promised to avoid a third national lockdown. Cases remained stable over the last two months, but the situation in France deteriorated in the last week.
The country’s slow vaccination pace is also raising fears that hospital intensive care units will become saturated once again.
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3,400 intensive care unit beds are currently occupied, half of last April’s peak, and about 50 per cent of new cases are caused by the “British” Covid-19 variant.
Prime Minister Jean Castex announced yesterday that after several months where new cases remained between 15,000 and 20,000 per day, infections have experienced a surge in the last week, with 30,000 new cases registered on Thursday.
This is the highest daily figure since mid-November, just before the government imposed a second month-long lockdown.
Twenty other départements (counties), have been placed under “reinforced surveillance”, and risk going into another lockdown from the 6th of March if the situation does not improve.