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President Macron rules out a new general lockdown in France

The French President has excluded the possibility of a national lockdown that would “bring the country to a stop”. Cases of Covid-19 continue to rise in France but numbers in intensive care remain stable.

The President told news source Paris Match that, rather than a nationwide lockdown, he favoured “targeted confinement” and “local strategies”. 

He acknowledged that people in France have “legitimate anxieties” about the spread of Covid-19, but said: “There is no such thing as zero risk in society. We need to respond to anxiety [over Covid-19] without giving into a zero-risk doctrine.”

He added that a second national lockdown would cause “considerable” collateral damage to the country.  

Covid cases rising, but intensive care numbers stable 

Support for local strategies has come from the President as cases of Covid-19 in France continue to rise.

Figures released by national health body the Direction Générale de la Santé on August 19 show there were 3,776 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours.

Twenty-one new clusters were also confirmed.  

For the week of August 10-16, the rate of tests coming back positive in France rose to 3.1%.

In an accompanying statement, the health body wrote: “In French cities, all indicators continue to progress and transmission of the virus is accentuating. This concerns all age groups, particularly young adults.”

However, numbers of patients in intensive care have not risen significantly. In the 24 hours prior to the results being released only 31 patients were admitted to intensive care in France. 

This brings the total number of cases in intensive care to 374, with 70% of all cases grouped in four regions: Île-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Hauts-de-France and Grand Est.

Read more: Covid France: Why cases are up but hospitalisations stable 

President says other Covid-19 measures also needed

As well as local strategies, Macron suggested other measures to help France manage the Covid-19 pandemic. 

He mentioned the need to “let scientists make progress, speed up vaccines, guarantee access to them, give the best health response with the knowledge we have, test, trace, isolate, organise our A&E wards, warn people, and make mask-wearing widespread where it’s necessary.” 

President Macron spoke to Paris Match while on holiday at the official Presidential retreat, the island fortress of Brégançon (Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur). 

Related stories 

Macron calls for unity in face of coronavirus battle

French cities advised to prepare for local reconfinement

Coronavirus: what France’s ‘second wave’ could look like

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