Weekend lockdown not enough to slow spread of Covid-19 in Paris, top hospital official warns as govt mulls tougher measures

Weekend lockdown not enough to slow spread of Covid-19 in Paris, top hospital official warns as govt mulls tougher measures

A lockdown at weekends will not curb the spread of Covid-19 in Paris, a senior hospital executive has said. The idea was earlier floated by the French prime minister as he promised tougher restrictions.

Remi Salomon, a top executive at the AP-HP hospital organization, which runs 39 clinics in Paris, told BFM TV on Wednesday that authorities must focus on reducing contacts “as much as possible. Imposing a lockdown on the weekends will not be enough to slow down the spread of the coronavirus,” he said.

“The virus continues to circulate on weekdays, people continue to see each other at work, in shops,” Salomon said.

We cannot just summarize [all] measures at the weekends – it would not make sense. Something must be done during the week as well… I think we must effectively be reducing contacts seven days a week.

“We are heading for a disaster if we do nothing,” Salomon stressed, adding that the most difficult situation remains in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris. He urged people to brace for “three complicated months” in terms of fighting Covid-19.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government must use all means to avoid another nationwide lockdown. At the same time, on Tuesday, he warned of imminent tougher restrictions in the capital. The PM said officials are currently inclined towards a lockdown on the weekends, but refused to go into details. The measures will be further discussed on Wednesday. 

“The situation in the Paris region is at a very precarious equilibrium,” Castex said amid reports of hospitals being overwhelmed due to the influx of Covid-19 patients.

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Last week, French Health Minister Olivier Veran told reporters that “every 12 minutes” an Ile-de-France resident was being admitted to an intensive care unit. Around 100 patients have been evacuated from the capital and the surrounding region due to the lack of room in hospitals, according to the government spokesperson. 

France reported 29,975 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday – the highest week-on-week increase in a month and a half.

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