France will go into a month-long lockdown starting Friday as coronavirus cases threaten to overwhelm hospitals.
“We are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus,” President Emmanuel Macron said in a national televised address, “overpowered by a second wave.”
Restaurants, bars and nonessential businesses must shut down, and Macron urged anyone who could to work remotely. Factories, farms and construction sites will continue operating, as will schools, he said. Nursing homes will stay open for visitors whenever possible, and cemeteries will be able to accommodate in-person funerals.
France has lost a confirmed 35,785 to the virus so far, the world’s seventh-highest total, AP said. For weeks tens of thousands of infections have been reported daily.
“We are in a difficult, even critical, situation,” Jean-Fran 1/4 u00e7ois Delfraissy, president of the scientific team advising the president, told French radio on Monday, The Guardian reported. “We foresaw a second wave but we are surprised ourselves by the brutality of what has happened over the last 10 days. The second wave will probably be worse than the first.”
France isn’t alone. Germany will close restaurants, bars and movie and theater venues, for four weeks in a partial lockdown starting Monday.
“If the tempo of infections stays the same, we will reach the capacity of our health care system within weeks,” Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to The Washington Post. “That’s why it’s completely clear that we need to act, and act now.”
This is the second nationwide lockdown this year. Earlier in the pandemic, starting in March, the country was in an even stricter lockdown – a move that studies said saved untold numbers of lives.
“Many people still haven’t realized what is waiting for us,” Delfraissy said, according to The Guardian. “This wave is invading Europe … It will last several weeks, even one or two months.”
With News Wire Services
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