The number of people newly infected with the coronavirus in France could be significantly higher than previously thought. The actual number is probably “more than 100,000 cases per day,” said Jean-François Delfraissy, chairman of the scientific advisory board, at the beginning of the week in an interview with French broadcaster “RTL”. The advisory board advises the French government on how to deal with the virus.
“We predicted there would be a second wave, but we ourselves are surprised by the cruelty of what has happened in the last ten days,” said Delfraissy.
An employee of a bar in Toulouse, shortly before curfew. Photo: Fred Scheiber / AFP
The health authorities in France had reported a record high of new infections on Sunday morning: within 25 hours, 52,010 people were demonstrably infected with the corona virus. As of Saturday, 116 new deaths have been reported.
In an interview with French radio station “France Inter”, the doctor and president of a doctors’ association, Pierre-Jean Ternamian, predicted that the death rate would continue to rise. He estimated that there could be 200 deaths a day in three weeks. A recent study had shown that the burden on health workers had increased enormously.
Extended curfew or lockdown light
Given the tense situation, the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council, Delfraissy, discussed two possible measures for the coming weeks and months. On the one hand, a stricter curfew would be conceivable, which could cover more hours than before and could also be applied in other regions.
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After ten to fifteen days you should see if the situation has improved. If not, you will need to go into lockdown again.
President Emmanuel Macron has already imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. for 54 departments and the French overseas territory of French Polynesia. Two thirds of the inhabitants of France are already affected by this anti-corona measure.
As a second option, Delfraissy mentioned “immediately go into a lockdown that is less strict than in March”. Working from the home office should play a bigger role than before, but school operations should still be possible. He also suggested going into lockdown for a shorter period than in the spring.
The question remains whether schools in France will actually reopen. They are currently closed for the two-week “All Saints Holidays” (“Vacances de la Toussaint”). School activities normally resume on November 2. But there are voices that are already calling for the majority of facilities to be closed for the time being.
Fear of economic consequences
The chairman of France’s largest employers’ association, the Mouvement des Entreprise de France, expressed serious concern about a second lockdown. This would lead to “the collapse of the French economy”, he told the radio station “RMC”.
A political decision on how to respond to the situation is still pending. Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne told television channel “LCI” that they would try to strike a good balance between the health of the French and the continuation of economic, educational and cultural life. On Tuesday morning, several French media reported that the National Security Council for Corona will discuss with Head of State Emmanuel Macron at the Élysée Palace how to proceed.