France’s pandemic situation very worrying: Top health official

People wearing facial masks are seen on a street during the COVID-19 epidemic in Frankfurt, Germany, on Oct. 24, 2020. (Xinhua/Lu Yang)

Paris, Nov 10 (IANS) French Director-General of Health Jerome Salomon has warned that the most aggressive phase of the Covid-19 pandemic’s second wave “is still ahead of us”, even if a slowdown in the virus spread in cities, where curfews were imposed, offered “signs of hope”.

“The peak of the pandemic is ahead of us. The second wave is still progressing, let’s continue our efforts and brake it even harder,” Xinhua news agency quoted Salomon as saying at a press briefing on Monday.

“We are at a crucial moment. The greatest vigilance must be maintained by respecting barrier gestures, reducing contacts and protecting the elderly,” he added.

On October 30, the government imposed new nationwide confinement until early December, locking down 67 million inhabitants, who can now go out only to work, buy essential items or for health emergency.

All non-essential businesses such as restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and gyms are closed.

In mid-October, a ban on night-time movement had been ordered in the great Paris region and eight major cities from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“Wherever measures to curb the epidemic have been implemented, a slowdown has taken place. The cities which have imposed a curfew are starting to see a slower spread of the epidemic.

“It is encouraging and it encourages us to continue collectively our efforts,” Salomon said.

He said that “10 days” are needed to evaluate the impact of the restrictive measures, adding that the number of new cases and admissions to hospitals “will continue to increase several days after restrictions”.

On Monday., the Covid-19 death toll in France increased to 40,987 after 551 new cases were registered, while the overall caseload stood at 1,807,479.

Salomon added 31,125 patients were hospitalized, of whom 4,690 are in intensive care units.

A total of 83 patients were taken to less-strained hospitals and 200 others will be transferred in the coming two weeks.

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