French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a nationwide lockdown in France, until at least December 1, as new COVID19 cases overwhelm the nation’s healthcare system.
The second wave of COVID19 already filled France’s ICU’s halfway to the limits, sparking fears among the country’s healthcare authorities that the hospitals could fumble to bear the load in the coming weeks.
At the height of the pandemic’s first wave in Spring, France had to send COVID19 patients to neighboring countries like Austria, Switzerland, and other nations.
In a matter of few days, the EU superpower has recorded tens of thousands of new cases, taking the national total to over 1 million, with 35,243 deaths, as per WHO.
Addressing the nation at a time France is amid hot waters of controversy, Macron told the French citizens that the condition of the pandemic has deteriorated to such an extent even the most pessimistic has not anticipated.
“We have been overwhelmed by the rapid acceleration of Covid19,” he said in the prime-time address to the nation, acknowledging that the recent curfews imposed in some French metropolitans failed to prevent the second wave.
“We are having 40,000-50,000 new identified contaminations each day,” he said.
Restrictions were relaxed in France from May 21st, which has gradually sent new cases spiraling high, like in many countries around the world.
The new restrictions will take effect from Friday, and a national lockdown means people will not be able to get out of their homes except for buying essential goods, visiting a doctor or relative, conducting important affairs, or to get some fresh air.
The lockdown will force businesses like bars, pubs, and restaurants to shut down from Thursday night and people will need to give a written statement for leaving homes, France 24 reported.
But unlike the spring lockdown, this lockdown will have certain exceptions, at least the economy does not suffer like it did in the first wave lockdown.
Schools will continue to remain open for high schoolers and universities will carry on classes online from home. Some public services will continue and farms and industries will be allowed to operate with restrictions.
The President also said if after two weeks of these strict measures the conditions improve, or infections go down below 5k cases a day, from the 40k cases on an average currently, things will be re-evaluated and some businesses will be allowed to re-open, but with caution.
Not just France, but the whole of Europe is under the attacks of a second wave, which experts are warning could be even deadlier than the first wave as conditions like winter festive seasons threaten to catapult the effects of the pandemic.
German Chancellor Angela Markel has also imposed a sweeping nationwide lockdown earlier on Wednesday bringing the European powerhouse to a grinding halt for another few weeks.