Latest Covid-19 wave could 'overwhelm' France


Paris, Sep 27 (IANS): The latest coronavirus wave in France could "overwhelm" the country amid exhaustion of the frontline workers battling the pandemic, a senior health official has warned.

"The second wave is arriving faster than we thought," the Guardian reported on Sunday citing Patrick Bouet, head of the National Council of the Order of Doctors, as saying to the weekly Journal du Dimanche.

Bouet added that last week's warnings by Health Minister Olivier Veran had not been taken seriously.

On September 23, Veran had warned that restrictions in the "red zones" across the country will be tightened due to a spike in the number of confirmed cases.

Since September 19, 53 departments in the country, where the Covid-19 incidence or the number of positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a week is greater than 50, have been classified as "zone of alert" or "red zone".

In "zone of enhanced alert" where the incidence is above 150, now including Paris and eight other cities, starting from Saturday, bars started to close at 10 p.m., limit of attendance to public events was cut from 5,000 to 1,000 and gatherings of more than 10 people were prohibited in public spaces such as beaches and parks.

In Marseille and Guadeloupe, now "zone of maximum alert" as the incidence there has gone above 250, in addition to the measures envisaged for the enhanced alert zones, bars and restaurants will be totally closed, according to the Mnister.

Meanwhile, the French Le Monde newspaper said in a report that a third of the new clusters in the country were in schools and universities, the Guardian reported.

The latest figures from health officials indicated that 32 per cent of the 899 clusters under investigation concern schools and universities.

As of Sunday, the total number of coronavirus cases in France has increased to 552,454, while the death toll stood at 31,675.

  

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