French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday that the country’s hospitals had been overstretched and immediately ordered for a return to lockdown.
France’s Covid-19 indicators have grown sharply over the past week; with patients now occupy half of France’s ICU beds, leading hospitals to once again fear overcrowding.
“The virus is spreading at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated,” Macron said during the short speech delivered from his office at the Elysée presidential palace. “Like our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus.”
Macron stressed that despite efforts to adapt to life with the new coronavirus, Covid-19 had continued to spread and a “brutal halt” was required to keep hospitals from going over capacity.
“If in two weeks we have the situation under better control, we will be able to re-evaluate things and hopefully open some businesses, in particular for the Christmas holiday.”
Unlike the earlier confinement, schools from the maternal to the high school levels, as well as farms, factories and some public services will continue to operate. The new announcement came less than two weeks after Macron announced a curfew in Paris and other cities, which has since been extended to cover two-thirds of the population.