France reported on Friday that 5,254 people were in an intensive care unit with Covid-19, an increase of 145 people in one day and the highest daily increase in five months. The risk of an emergency environment cannot cope with the surging cases is one of President Emmanuel Macron’s main reasons to order the third national lockdown this week, after failing to try for months to curb the pandemic outbreak with regional curfews and social distancing restrictions.
From next week, France begins its third lock, with schools and non-essential businesses closed nationally for almost four weeks. While announcing the new measures on Wednesday, Macron said the number of ICU beds would be increased from 7,000 to more than 10,000.
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At the top of the first lockdown in Spring 2020, France saw the highest of 7,148 patients Covid-19 in ICUs across the country, but it fell back to several hundred in August after the first round of tight measures. During November lockdown, which was less restrictive, the ICU number peaked only below 5,000, but since then, they only dipped briefly under 3,000 in December.
With new infections rising sharply, the doctors estimate that the third wave of the virus will peak in the next two weeks, with a further increase in the number of ICU admits. On Friday, the new confirmation jumped with the highest level on Sunday since the end of November, when France was in the second national lockdown.
The ministry reported 46,677 new cases, 6.2% more than a week ago, with a total of 4.74 million cases. France on Friday also reported 332 new deaths from Covid-19, taking the death toll to 96,280, but the new death count only included 32 deaths at retirement care homes for three days.
The mortality rate at a retirement home, which remained several hundred per week at the end of 2021, has fallen sharply because the government focuses on vaccination campaigns. The Ministry of Health said 12.13 million people had received vaccines so far, including more than three million second doses.
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