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France Leaning Toward Nationwide Lockdown Due to Covid Spike

France Leaning Toward Nationwide Lockdown Due to Covid Spike”

Lockdown-like restrictions will apply across France and schools will be closed for three weeks in April in an attempt to contain the third wave of the coronavirus, French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday evening.

The 43-year-old leader has been under fire from political opponents and many health experts in recent weeks as the rampant virus left hospitals in hotspots such as Paris overwhelmed.

In today's announcement, Macron said that from mid-May to the beginning of summer, the government plans to set a gradual reopening calendar and guidelines, including for events, meaning that may be the next indication of whether Cannes will go ahead as planned. He said 44 per cent of patients now in intensive care are aged under 65.

In Paris and other regions where the virus is spreading rapidly, residents already also have extra restrictions on movement and nonessential stores are closed.

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.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has breached 5,000, exceeding the peak hit during a six-week lockdown late a year ago.

"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".

Writing of the gravity of the situation this week in the newspaper Libération, Patrick Bouet, president of the National Council of the Order of Doctors, called on Macron to institute stricter measures.

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He hoped that terraces of cafes and restaurants could receive people and some cultural venues may resume activities "under strict rules" from mid-May.

His handling of the twin health and economic crises caused by the pandemic will be foremost in voters' minds next April and May, analysts say.

'Until we are massively vaccinated, wherever the situation is serious, we must confine ourselves, ' the letter said. Without rest, without holidays.

As well as the spiralling infections, he is also on the back foot over France's vaccine rollout, which has been dogged by a chronic shortage of doses due in part to a centralised European Union purchasing system which he championed.

Macron, who is up for reelection next year, had justified his regional strategy by saying the country needed to consider the impacts on mental health and the economy in devising a balanced response to the third wave.

Mr Macron said the so-called "British variant" of Coronavirus was causing particular concerns in France. All children will get online teaching next week, Macron said.

And he underlined that polls still show the pro-business centrist as the frontrunner.



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