PARIS (Reuters) – The French Well being Ministry has requested regional well being companies and hospitals to enter “disaster organisation” from Feb. 18 to arrange for a potential surge in coronavirus instances because of extremely contagious variants, Le Journal Du Dimanche reported on Sunday.
The transfer, which might echo measures taken in March and November 2020 when France went into nationwide lockdowns, includes growing the variety of hospital beds accessible, delaying non- pressing surgical procedure and mobilising all medical employees sources.
“This disaster organisation should be applied in every area, whatever the stage of hospital stress and should be operational from Thursday Feb. 18,” well being authority DGS stated in a memo cited by the newspaper.
The DGS was not instantly accessible for remark to Reuters.
France reported 21,231 new confirmed coronavirus instances on Saturday, barely up from 20,701 on Friday, taking the entire cumulative quantity in France to three,448,617, the sixth-highest on the earth.
In distinction with a few of its neighbours who’re struggling to regulate extra contagious variants, France has resisted resorting to a brand new lockdown, hoping a nationwide curfew in place since Dec 15, first at eight p.m. then at 6 p.m., will comprise the pandemic.
Some scientists, nonetheless, imagine President Emmanuel Macron took a chance in deciding in opposition to a brand new lockdown regardless of the specter of extremely contagious variants.
On the similar time, France trails behind a number of different European nations, akin to Britain, in rolling out vaccinations.
Well being Minister Olivier Veran, who famous the variant first detected in Britain accounted for 25% of confirmed new infections in France, stated on Thursday the federal government would determine within the coming weeks whether or not harder restrictions have been crucial at a nationwide stage.
Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the scientific council that advises the federal government on COVID-19 coverage, advised Europe 1 radio on Saturday he feared the variant first detected in Britain may account for almost all of the instances in March.
Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Jean-Stephane Brosse; enhancing by Barbara Lewis