The French national lockdown is set to be extended beyond the original date of December 2, despite the government saying that the coronavirus had peaked.
Health Minister Olivier Veran confirmed today that he wouldn’t be able to provide a date for the end of the draconian national restrictions which were imposed for a month on October 30.
Veran said that restrictions on movement could not be lifted on December 1, echoing the gloomy outlook of the PM Jean Castex last week that bars, cafes and gyms were to remain closed past the deadline.
It comes after Veran said that France was past the peak on Sunday after the number of people in hospital with Covid-19 fell for the first time since mid-August.
Cases fell to a one-month low of 9,406 on Monday after averaging more than 38,000 per day for the previous ten days.
French Prime minister Jean Castex (C) and French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (2ndL) have a meeting via video conference with representatives of the main religions in France, on November 16, 2020 at the Matignon hotel in Paris
Many European countries, including Britain, have opted for a second national lockdown but with an end date which many citizens are deeply sceptical about.
Angela Merkel demands tougher lockdown
Chancellor Merkel said Tuesday that coronavirus remained very serious after federal leaders postponed a decision on extending lockdown measures.
Merkel said she would have preferred to have agreed stricter rules at the meeting with state representatives on Monday, adding she was very worried about the uncontrolled spread of coronavirus in some places, including the capital Berlin.
‘Infection numbers aren’t growing exponentially anymore, but are still far too high. So we have to reduce contacts, reduce contacts, reduce contacts,’ Merkel said.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose by 14,419 in a day, while the death toll rose by 267. The rise in the number of cases was less than the 15,332 reported a week ago, but the death toll jumped from 154.
Merkel noted that about 30-40% of the German population were vulnerable, including elderly people and those with underlying health conditions.
‘Getting the pandemic under control is the best solution for the economy, too,’ she said.
Germany imposed a month-long ‘lockdown lite’ on November 2. Bars and restaurants are closed, but schools and shops remain open.
Despite the fall in cases on Monday, the number of people hospitalised increased by 416 to reach a new all-time high of 33,497. And COVID-19 fatalities increased by 506, to 45,054, versus a seven-day moving average of 581.