France could face another nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus as the country saw a steep rise in the number of cases recently.
The Guardian reports that President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to introduce new measures that could last up to four weeks as hospitals are beginning to struggle with the volume of patients who have contracted COVID-19.
Macron is expected to make a televised address to the nation on Wednesday, October 28, following ongoing discussions with union leaders and opposition parties about introducing tougher restrictions to prevent the virus from spreading in France.
Many French regions are already under curfew, where bars and restaurants have to close early, and localized lockdowns have already been discussed by the country’s leaders. However, the new measures would reportedly apply to the entire country, and the BBC reports that these new restrictions could go into effect as early as Thursday, October 29.
Details of the new restrictions have not yet been revealed, but they could be similar to those introduced in the spring. Restaurants and bars closed completely, but shops remained open so that residents could still purchase essential goods. Some schools could also close under the new measures, but the defense council and cabinet are reportedly encouraging older students to study online if possible.
The amount of people contracting COVID-19 has risen quickly across France in recent weeks, and the rate has surprised figures within government. Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the scientific committee advising the French government, predicts that the second spike of the novel coronavirus will be more severe than the first.
“We are in a difficult, even critical, situation. We foresaw a second wave but we are surprised ourselves by the brutality of what has happened over the last 10 days. The second wave will probably be worse than the first. Many people still haven’t realized what is waiting for us. This wave is invading Europe … it will last several weeks, even one or two months,” he said.
The number of COVID-19 infections in France has risen drastically in recent days. Santé Publique France, the country’s public health authority, reported 33,417 over the past 24 hours, but there were 52,010 cases reported on Saturday alone, and an additional 148 are reportedly requiring intensive care after contracting the novel coronavirus.
France is not the only nation experiencing a resurgent rise in COVID-19. The Inquisitr reported that the U.S. saw a record number of cases last week, as 80,000 people tested positive for the virus.