French hospitals face ‘violent shock’ within weeks from COVID-19 surge

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    PARIS — The French hospital system could face an “unprecedented violent shock” in about three weeks if the country fails to curb its vertiginous rise in COVID-19 cases, the president of the French hospital federation, said on Tuesday.

    “The epidemic is gathering pace, and the figures are exploding,” Frederic Valletoux, who leads the hospital group and is also mayor of Fontainebleau just south of Paris, told LCI TV.

    Epidemiologist and government scientific adviser Arnaud Fontanet echoed that warning, telling BFM TV on Tuesday that more restrictions might be necessary if measures now in place fail to slow down the spread of the virus.

    Last week, France imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north after a faltering vaccine rollout and spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants forced President Emmanuel Macron to shift course.

    Official data on Monday showed that the tally of new COVID-19 cases in France had accelerated, with the number of people in intensive care at a new four-month high.

    France reported 15,792 new coronavirus cases on Monday, more than double the 6,471 reported last Monday and the highest number on a Monday since the peak of the second wave in early November.

    France also registered 343 new deaths, pushing the official tally of fatalities to 92,621 – the eighth highest COVID-19 death toll in the world. — Reuters