France should be ‘careful’ as it reaches peak Covid-19

Aurélien Rousseau said that France expected to reach the peak of the epidemic in the next few days

France should continue to be “extremely careful” as it begins to approach the peak of the Covid-19 epidemic, with confinement measures still paramount, a health expert in Île-de-France has said.

Aurélien Rousseau, director general of regional health agency l’Agence Régionale de Santé (ARS) of Île-de-France confirmed yesterday (Saturday April 4) that the country could reach the peak of the epidemic in the next few days.

He told news provider FranceInfo: “Over the past two days we have seen a slowing down in the number of cases in intensive care, but this does not mean that the number of cases is dropping, but it is rising less slowly. We expect to see a peak in the next few days.”

However, Mr Rousseau said that the country should continue to be “extremely careful” and that a peak was not the signal that “confinement should be relaxed”.

He said: “The peak may be here, but that effectively means that this Monday April 6, we will have around 2,300-2,400 people in intensive care in Île-de-France, which is far more than usual. So we are not in a position to be able to bear even a small extra wave [of cases].

“Confinement must absolutely remain the rule, otherwise we will endanger the entire health system.”

He added: “The number of patients in intensive care is more than we could have imagined. And that is the same in all the countries of Europe, even all the countries in the world. This is a fight.”

Mr Rousseau explained that proper protective masks - known as FFP2 - should be reserved for healthcare workers and those caring for sick Covid-19 patients, and reiterated the importance of confinement and barrier measures for everyone else.

He said: “Just because you’re wearing a mask, that doesn’t mean that you can approach people, or wash your hands less. Barrier measures are for everyone, and it’s going to last for weeks and weeks.”

The statement comes as France announced on Saturday April 4 that the number of deaths over the most recent 24 hours had been 441, a drop on the figure from the day before, 588.

The total number of deaths at the most recent count was 7,560.

Read more: Covid-19: 7,560 deaths in France

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