PARIS — More than a year after the government in France ordered its first national lockdown to fight back the Covid-19 pandemic, the authorities now seem to have little choice but to do the same again, as infections rise sharply across the country and hospitals in Paris are overflowing.
President Emmanuel Macron will address the country at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and is expected to announce new restrictions, possibly bringing in a third national lockdown, which he has long tried to avoid.
France on Tuesday reported more than 5,000 people in intensive care units for the first time since last April, with bed shortages in hospitals in the most affected areas becoming acute. And the slow vaccine rollout has not prevented an outburst of infections, as an average of about 37,000 daily new cases have been reported over the past week.
“The outlook is worse than frightening,” Jean-Michel Constantin, the head of the intensive care unit at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, told RMC radio on Monday.