French intensive care patients for coronavirus surpass May peak

Medical workers stand in the ICU unit of La Timone public hospital in Marseille, in the south of France, on September 25, 2020.
Medical workers stand in the ICU unit of La Timone public hospital in Marseille, in the south of France, on September 25, 2020. © Christophe Simon, AP file photo

The number of people being treated in French intensive care units for Covid-19 exceeded 1,500 on Monday for the first time since May 27, authorities said, raising fears of local lockdowns being imposed across the country.

Advertising

The new figure of 1,539 is still almost five times lower than an April 8 high of 7,148 but also four times higher than a July 31 low of 371.

And as there are normally more people hospitalised with different illnesses in the autumn than in the spring, health experts fear the hospital system will be quickly overwhelmed if nothing is done to contain the coronavirus.

Earlier, Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was facing a "strong" second wave of Covid-19 infections and that he could not rule out local lockdowns.

President Emmanuel Macron is due to speak about the public health situation in television interviews on Wednesday evening.

There were 8,505 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours in France, data showed, sharply down from Saturday's record of 26,896 and Sunday's 16,101.

The dip in cases could be partly due to the fact that there are fewer tests conducted on Sundays in France. The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stood above the 17,000 level for the first time since the outbreak, at 17,029.

Meanwhile, the number of people who have died from coronavirus rose by 95 on Monday to a total of 32,825.

The cumulative number of cases now totals 743,479.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning