Weekend lockdown in Paris region may not be enough, says hospital executive

17 March 2021 - 11:46 By Reuters
French Health Minister Olivier Veran, wearing a protective face mask, speaks during the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in France, March 16, 2021.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran, wearing a protective face mask, speaks during the questions to the government session at the National Assembly in Paris amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak in France, March 16, 2021.
Image: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The coronavirus situation is worsening in the greater Paris region where hospitals are under immense strain, the director-general of the AP-HP Paris hospitals organisation, Martin Hirsch, said on Wednesday.

Hirsch told RTL radio there were two options to contain the disease — a local weekend lockdown, already in place in other parts of the country, or a broader lockdown in the region.

“The virus is not under control. There are as many patients in intensive care units today as there were at the peak of the second wave,” he said.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday the time had come for more coronavirus restrictions in the greater Paris region.

Hirsch said almost 1,100 people were in intensive care with Covid-19 in the region, and that number could reach 1,700 by the end of the month if the current trend continues.

In normal times, the greater Paris region has an intensive care bed capacity of about 1,000, Hirsch said.

Enforcing a weekend lockdown in the greater Paris region may not be enough to rein in the coronavirus there, an executive at the AP-HP Paris hospitals organisation, Remi Salomon, said on Wednesday.

Salomon, who heads the group's medical committee, also told BFM TV the now suspended AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine was as efficient as the Pfizer one.  

In France as a whole, there were 4,239 patients in intensive care with Covid-19 as of Tuesday, close to a four-month high. 

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