French president will address the nation as Covid-19 cases spike

Sunil Kumar

French President Emmanuel Macron looks on as he waits for the arrival of Estonia’s Prime Minister before their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris on October 28. Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron will announce this evening “a new stage in our fight against the virus which was decided this morning,” government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.

Local media, including France’s Le Monde newspaper, report that a new lockdown will be announced by the president in an address to the nation at 8 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET) on Wednesday. CNN affiliate BFMTV are reporting that the new measures may last four weeks and come into force as early as Thursday evening. 

This potential lockdown would be less strict than the first “confinement” in the spring, with the possibility of some schools and more businesses staying open.

The French Hospital Federation, a group representing 4,800 hospitals, said in a press release on Wednesday that a full lockdown was the “only solution” that would permit French hospitals to “successfully treat all French people, whether they have Covid, whether they have any other serious illness or are affected by a serious accident.” 

President of the French Hospital Federation Frédéric Valletoux, speaking on French radio station France Inter, stressed that the French “hospital system will not hold without radical measures.” Reiterating the federations call for a complete lockdown Valletoux said hospitals are struggling with lower numbers of medical personnel than during the spring.                                   

What the numbers look like: France may be seeing about 100,000 new coronavirus cases per day, Jean-François Delfraissy, who leads the scientific council that advises the French government, warned on Monday. Speaking to France’s RTL radio, Delfraissy said, “There are probably over 50,000 cases per day, we are estimating at the scientific council that we are more around 100,000 cases per day, twice as many, because beyond diagnosed cases there are many not diagnosed and asymptomatic cases.”

Delfraissy added that France is in a “very difficult, even critical, situation.”

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