France’s health minister has registered his optimism that the country will reach the peak of the epidemic within 10 days and that things will look a lot better in May, but the PM’s assessment remains grim.
Speaking on Thursday to France Inter radio, Minister of Health Olivier Véran said he was confident that the measures announced by President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday would have “a strong impact on the epidemic dynamic,” adding that there was no reason to think anything to the contrary.
It takes between seven and ten days for measures to be effective… we could have reached the epidemic peak in seven to ten days.
The minister contended that, “if all goes well,” France would hit peak hospital numbers two weeks after peak infections are registered. “We are doing everything so that the peak of resuscitation, the most serious indicator for us, occurs before the end of April, and that we can find more freedom in May,” Véran stated.
His comments may prove little consolation to healthcare workers, however – on Monday, the number of patients in intensive care (4,974) surpassed the peak of the second wave in November.
Speaking to the National Assembly on Thursday, Prime Minister Jean Castex issued a grim warning to lawmakers: “The third wave is here, and it hits us hard. In two weeks, the number of cases has increased by 55%, to 38,000 per day.” He added that the virus was increasingly prevalent in the younger generation.
In a televised national address on Wednesday evening, Macron announced that the tougher lockdown measures in place in 19 areas, including Paris, would now be extended to the whole of France for four weeks from Saturday. Travel will be limited to a 10km radius of home, while longer essential journeys will require a certificate.
All face-to-face teaching in schools will be suspended for a week from Monday, ahead of the two-week spring break, with classes set to resume on April 26.
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