Coronavirus cases and hospitalization up again in France
In France, where new coronavirus cases remained in control for a few months, the infections are rising again and hospitals are inundated with serious patients, in what serves as a rude reminder of the bygone spring. On Thursday, 16,096 new cases were reported, a staggering rise from the previously reported high of 13,498. Faced with the virus' resurgence, the government has imposed new curbs.
Data shows France has tough days ahead
At the time of publishing, France's death toll stood at 31,511, after 52 new deaths. It is lower than the seven-day moving average of 59, but over four times more than the daily average witnessed in August, i.e., 12. 6,031 were admitted yesterday, up from August 29, when 4,530 needed hospitalization. 1,043 people are recuperating in ICUs, a figure not logged since June 8.
Non-emergency services being shut to accommodate coronavirus patients
Paris hospital authority AP-HP announced it would be shutting non-emergency services. Deputy Director Francois Cremieux said the number of coronavirus patients doubled within three weeks and would surge further by September-end.
France fell short of total lockdown, curbs have returned
Hoping to avoid a repeat of events from a few months ago, when hospitals struggled to find beds for critically ill patients, President Emmanuel Macron's government on Wednesday announced the closure of all bars and restaurants in Marseille. The bars/restaurants in Paris and everywhere else will shut sooner. Public gatherings are limited to ten people, and sporting events can only host 1,000 people.
New curbs have left Marseille and Paris mayors angry
Meanwhile, the return of restrictions in a country, which was extensively locked down between March 17 and May 11, made citizens and a few politicians angry. Marseille's Mayor Michele Rubirola, a left-leaning politician, was agitated because she wasn't consulted. "Why turn the screws when our numbers have been improving for a few days now?" she asked. Her Paris counterpart had similar concerns.
"How can these measures stop the transmission?"
"It is hard to understand: how will it prevent the spread of the virus? How will the fact that we can no longer exercise help us, while sport is an important part of keeping us healthy with strong immune systems?" Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.
Denouncing censure, PM said he wants to avoid March-like situation
Reacting to the criticism Prime Minister Jean Castex claimed his opponents were playing politics. "What I don't want is that we go back to March," he said. Health Minister Olivier Véran stressed that the measures aren't an overreaction, revealing that the reproduction rate has up-ticked 1 — meaning 100 people are infecting more than 100 now. The positivity rate crossed 6%, he added.
Fearing losses, hotel industry decried government, plans to protest
Further, business-owners also expressed discontent at the move. Bernard Marty, President of the Hotel Industry Union complained of not being forewarned. "I have no confidence in this government. Does it realize that it's not only the restaurants but the food producers, the suppliers...a whole chain it is in the process of killing," he was quoted by The Guardian. He vowed to "fight back."
Separately, Spain isn't doing that great either
France, however, is not the only country that is losing its gains in the coronavirus battle. Spain logged 10,600 new cases on Thursday and 84 new deaths. The extended region around Madrid is struggling to control the rising cases. "Tough weeks are coming to Madrid. We have to act with determination to bring the pandemic under control," Health Minister Salvador Illa announced, bluntly.