France activates emergency plan, lockdown as fourth COVID wave looms
- The number of Delta variant cases has spiked up in France
- French territories of Guadalupe and Martinique are introducing lockdowns
- Corsica had reintroduced compulsory mask-wearing in mid-July
With a fourth COVID-19 wave posing a threat, health officials in France have activated an emergency plan to curb the spread in the Mediterranean island of Corsica. Overnight curfews, lockdowns and masks are likely to return as per the plan.
The number of Delta variant cases has spiked up in France. According to health figures published on Tuesday, the number of hospital admissions has been directly proportionate. Patients in intensive care now number 1,331 compared with 978 a week ago, while the deaths of another 57 people over the last 24 hours pushed France's toll past 112,000, AFP reported.
The French government ked by PM Jean Castex announced it was reactivating a package of measures designed to support medical staff as they brace for a fresh intake of cases, AFP reported.
The coastal areas of the west European giant have reintroduced the compulsory wearing of masks. Health officials in Corsica, according to AFP, said they were providing more intensive care beds for COVID-19 patients and mobilising medical staff as hospital occupancy in Bastia, one of the island's two main cities, passed 79%.
Guadalupe became the third of France's overseas territory to announce a return to partial lockdown because of a "catastrophic" surge in coronavirus cases there. An overnight curfew and some daytime restrictions start from Wednesday.
Similarly, Martinique returned to lockdown on Friday, while the island of Reunion entered partial lockdown this weekend.
Prime Minister Jean Castex chaired a meeting on Tuesday with the interministerial team handling the crisis. They have agreed to use the army to provide more intensive care beds to the overseas territories, his office said.
On the same day, the government announced that it would reintroduce overtime bonuses for hospital workers, as well as compensation for paid holidays they could not take because of pressure of work.
Corsica had reintroduced compulsory mask-wearing in the island's main cities in mid-July. Several coastal resorts around France have also reintroduced compulsory mask-wearing less than two months after the authorities lifted the restriction, AFP said.
Officials in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on the border with Spain, and at Lake Annecy, at the foot of the Alps, have introduced similar measures.