French hospitals at ‘risk’ of being overwhelmed as second wave ‘faster than thought’

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Over the last 24 hours, French health authorities reported 4,070 new cases of the novel virus, a decrease from Saturday’s third-highest ever total in the country of 14,412. But senior doctors and experts have raised concerns as hospitalisations increase.

The number of people hospitalised for the disease has gone up by more than 150, going over the 6,400 threshold for the first time since July 21.

Following the staggering rise over the weekend, doctors urged the government to do more to curb the imminent return of the virus.

This came after ministers followed President Emmanuel Macron’s orders not to impose a new national lockdown.

Patrick Bouet, head of the professional body the National Order of Doctors, warned the health system could be overwhelmed despite restrictions imposed on Marseilles.

He said: “The second wave is arriving faster than we thought.”

While speaking to Le Journal du Dimanche, Dr Bouet said health minister Olivier Veran should impose tougher restrictions.

He argued the health minster should have said: “In three to four weeks, if nothing changes, France will face a widespread outbreak across its whole territory, for several long autumn and winter months with a health system unable to cope with the demands on it.”

Over the weekend, Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, two Nobel economics laureates, urged to government to impose a national lockdown during the first 20 days of December.

They suggested this would allow French people to move around during the Christmas break.

However, Dr Veran hit back at their claims saying they were prophesying while he was relying on statistics.

He warned if the “virus circulation speeds up and… if we do not use all necessary means to halt it, then the health system of the French will be in danger.”

At the start of the pandemic, France imposed one of the strictest lockdowns across Europe in order to prevent the hospital system from becoming overwhelmed.

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France has been one of the worst-hit countries in Europe with the number of confirmed cases surpassing 500,000 while the death toll has reached more than 30,000.

In the past week, around 4,102 people have been admitted into hospital, with 763 in intensive care.

Much like the UK, France has also imposed a 10pm curfew on pubs and bars in Paris and ten other cities.

However, several restaurants, bar and discos have argued against Mr Macron’s decision.

Stéphane Manigold said: “We don’t understand how the population is supposed to be in greater safety jammed into the Metro trains than in our establishments, nor how the virus is harmless at 9.59pm and lethal at 10pm.”

Other countries in Europe are also experiencing a second wave of the virus.

Since Friday, Spain has recorded a staggering 31,785 new cases.

Data from the health ministry revealed the number of confirmed cases now reached 748,266.

The cumulative death toll reached 31,411 from 31,232 on Friday.

Daily deaths are now around their highest levels since early May but are well below the late March record of nearly 900.

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