Paris may face new Covid-19 locks when intensive care is filled

Officials say the Paris region may be heading for a new shutdown as new variants of the virus fill intensive care units and limited vaccine supplies slow down inoculation efforts.

Special medical plans sent patients from the Paris area to less saturated regions over the weekend.

“If we have to lock ourselves down, we will do it,” the head of national health care, Jerome Salomon, told BFM television Sunday. “The situation is complex, tense and deteriorating in the Paris region.”

Salomon acknowledges that a nationwide curfew at 6pm was “not enough” in some regions to prevent an increase in cases, especially of the variant first identified in the UK.

The French government has relied on curfews for several months – along with the long-term closures of restaurants and some other businesses – to try to avoid a costly new lockdown. But local outbreaks raise questions about the government’s anti-virus strategy.

Salomon says that France has more people in intensive care for COVID-19 and other diseases – about 6,300 – than the total number of ICU beds it had in the pandemic.

France has reported 90,315 virus-related deaths, among the world’s highest death toll.

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(AP)