French PM Jean Castex announced a curfew imposed last week on Paris and eight other cities would be extended to 38 more departments. The curfew has been set from 9 pm to 6 am.
“A second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is now underway in France and Europe. The situation is very serious,” Castex said at a news conference.
After the new measures were announced, the authorities have recorded a record 41,000 new confirmed cases, bringing the total down to 9,99,043 cases.
The COVID-19 spread has been growing with more than 26,000 cases per day being recorded. Hospitals have said that the beds are nearing their saturation levels, with doctors claiming the second wave is far worse than the first one.
Europe had appeared to have gained control over the epidemic following the lockdowns in March and April but the recent surge in cases has put the continent back into the crisis. While hospitalisations and deaths have not so far overwhelmed health systems as they did during the initial wave early this year, authorities in many countries worry the situation is rapidly reaching a tipping point.
With the season changing bringing in the onset of winter, the health authorities are cautious that COVID-19 does not coincide with the seasonal flu.
“We are already swamped”, said Bruno Megarbane, head of the Intensive Care Unit at the Lariboiseire, Paris. “So, indeed, there is a fear that we will face a difficult situation”, he added.