Emmanuel Macron slammed for ‘following bad science’ by expert
France saw its biggest one-day jump in Covid cases today since its second lockdown in November and the government prepared to further tighten limits on people’s movement. The health ministry reported 38,501 new infections, pushing the total during the pandemic to 4.15 million. The seven-day average of new cases rose to over 26,000 per day.
Former BBC broadcaster Andrew Neil reacted to the latest cases and warned Mr Macron was “culpable” over France’s “mess” with its vaccine rollout.
He wrote on Twitter: “France’s vaccine rollout is a mess and President Macron is culpable.
“The only antidote to a 3rd wave — bar lockdown — is widespread vaccination. I expect at least Greater Paris (Ile de France) to be in lockdown by the weekend. Very sad.”
Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said earlier today that tougher restrictions will be imposed in some regions including Paris from this weekend to battle against the spike in infections.
Andrew Neil has ripped into Macron over France’s Covid rates
The Government is set to then outline new restrictions on Thursday.
This could include impartial lockdowns such as the weekend lockdowns already imposed, as well as a nationwide nightly curfew, along parts of the Mediterranean Riviera and some areas of the north.
Mr Macron said today: “We will take pragmatic and regionalised decisions.”
Despite the jump in new cases, the number of Covid patients in intensive care units (ICU) fell slightly, the first drope in nearly two weeks, easing by 20 to 4,219, health ministry data showed.
France saw the biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases on Wednesday
The government tracks ICU numbers closely as they are the ultimate measure of France’s ability to deal with the crisis.
Meanwhile, Paris had 1,177 people in ICU on Tuesday as the number of deaths in hospital rose by 247 to 91,437 today.
In the second nationwide lockdown in November, the number of people in ICU peaked at 4,919, on November 16.
During the first lockdown in March-April 2020, France had more than 5,000 people in ICU for 25 consecutive days, more than 6,000 for 17 consecutive days.
France could be heading for another national lockdown as Covid cases rise
There was also a peak of over 7,000 for nearly a week early in April 2020.
It comes after a small number of cases of blood clots in people having the jab have been reported in Europe, prompting several European countries including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway to halt rollout of the vaccine.
Mr Macron said he still hopes a vaccination drive can stave off effects of a new pandemic wave triggered by more contagious variants, and prevent France from resorting to a third national lockdown.
But suspension of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, announced on Monday over safety concerns, could jeopardise the strategy.
Peter Openshaw, professor of experimental medicine at Imperial College London, said the decision to halt rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab could be a “disaster” for Covid vaccine uptake in Europe.
When asked what he would say to those in the UK who are booked to receive the vaccine, he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I really wouldn’t be worried at the present time.
“I think it is very clear that the benefits of being vaccinated at the moment so far outweigh the possible concern over this rather rare type of blood clot.
“It really is a completely one-sided argument statistically that we need to be vaccinating.
“I think it is a disaster for the vaccination uptake in Europe, which is already on slightly unsteady ground in some countries.”
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