French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Tuesday that additional coronavirus restrictions in the greater Paris region will be implemented as the country enters a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. France has seen a steady rise of new cases, leading to a strain on the hospital system, especially in the capital where infections have surged.
French health officials reported 29,975 new cases nationwide on Tuesday, a 4.5% weekly jump and the largest increase in a month and a half. The health ministry said there were 4,239 patients in intensive care units for COVID-19, up by 20 over 24 hours and setting a nearly four-month high. The total number of people hospitalized for the disease was at 25,492, the highest number since Feb 24.
Castex said on Wednesday that weekend lockdowns such as those already in place in two other regions were among measures to be considered for the greater Paris region. French President Emmanuel Macron still hopes a vaccination drive can help control a new wave which has been triggered by more contagious variants, and prevent France from resorting to a third national lockdown. Like many other European countries, France has lagged behind the United States and Britain in vaccinating its population.