Published: Thu, April 01, 2021
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France in third lockdown

France in third lockdown

Greater Paris's Seine-Saint-Denis, France's poorest mainland department and the one with the highest immigrant population, has almost 800 Covid cases per 100,000 people, more than twice the national average.

But as of Tuesday, more than 28,000 people were being treated in hospital for Covid-19 in France, including 5,072 in intensive care units (ICU), according to French health ministry data.

"We will lose control if we do not move now", he said.

But he stopped short of demanding people stay in their homes or avoid socialising completely, and authorised people to move between regions over the upcoming Easter weekend. The government ordered the closure of schools, universities and non-essential shops. A situation made worse by a Covid-19 variant, P1, that is both more contagious and potentially more lethal too.

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". "The virus is winning and we have lost control of the pandemic", Bouet said.

Mr Macron's announcements come after doctors warned that hospitals are on the brink of being overwhelmed by the number of sick people needing treatment.

At the end of January, the 43-year-old president bucked the European trend and went against the recommendation of his scientific advisers by deciding that France would not enter a third lockdown.

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.

He said that the measures announced are "pretty much the pillars of the lockdown of last year".

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.

Only 12 per cent of the French population has been vaccinated, and Mr Macron said the vaccine campaign needed to be accelerated.

'The situation is critical, ' added Juvin, who is also the mayor of La Garenne-Colombes in the Paris region.

Sky's Europe correspondent Adam Parsons said of the president's address: "This really was a classic bit of Emmanuel Macron rhetoric".

"Everyone has to make sure not that they close themselves in, but that they limit, to the maximum, their contacts, meetings and time spent with others", said Macron.

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.

As one government source told FranceInfo: "If strong measures are taken, such as on schools, then it is up to the head of state to relay them". "Everywhere the virus is spreading faster and faster and everywhere, hospitalizations are rising".

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