France is on the brink of a catastrophic second wave of coronavirus after 52,010 new infections were recorded on Sunday – the highest daily figure since the start of the health crisis. French residents are already living under some of the most severe measures, with daily curfews in place around the most infected areas, including Paris.
The fresh outbreak is not just confined to France as the pandemic continues to sweep across Europe, with a state of emergency declared in Spain and fresh curfews imposed on large parts of Italy.
Dr Eric Caumes, head of the infections and tropical diseases department at Paris’ Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, has called for a second nationwide lockdown to suppress the virus in France.
In a damning assessment of the leadership of the French President, Dr Caumes insisted Mr Macron lost the battle in tackling a second wave of COVID-19 weeks ago.
Speaking to broadcaster Franceinfo following the huge surge in coronavirus cases, Dr Caumes said: “We lost control of the epidemic but that doesn’t date from yesterday.
“We lost control of the epidemic several weeks ago already.”
Medical experts advising the French Government have also warned the true figure of coronavirus infections could be double the official figure of 50,000.
Dr Jean-François Delfraissy, president of the scientific council that advises the French government on the virus, said the nation is facing a “very difficult, even critical situation.”
Dr Delfraissy said: “There probably are more than 50,000 new cases every day.
“Our estimate at the Scientific Council is closer to 100,000 – twice as many.
“Between those who aren’t tested and asymptomatic patients, we’re close to that number of cases.
“This means the virus is spreading extremely fast.”
For more than a fortnight, residents in the capital have been living under a daily curfew and not allowed out between the hours of 9pm and 6am.
Mr Macron will hold crunch talks with his Government in the coming days, and it is understood the curfew could be expanded.
Other measures under consideration, include confining people to their homes at weekends, except for essential trips, as well as the closure of non-essential shops.
The French President confirmed he would chair a meeting of his COVID-19 task force on Tuesday morning.
On Sunday, the Spanish Government declared a state of emergency after more than 50,000 new cases were recorded – taking the total number of infections past the grim milestone of one million.
A nationwide curfew, where people are not allowed to leave their homes between 11pm and 6am, has been put in place until at least November 9.
In Italy, the Government announced bars and restaurants must close by 6pm.
This afternoon, the Italian Foreign Ministry also advised against travel to other European nations.