Coronavirus: France considers extending COVID state of emergency until mid-February | World News

France’s government is considering extending its state of emergency until 16 February next year.

Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal also said several more regions of the country will enter red-alert status, meaning they will see curfews imposed.

The proposed new end date to the health state of emergency means 9pm to 6am curfews already in place in France’s biggest cities could be extended.

On Friday, the country reported more than 30,000 cases in a single day, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

Tuesday’s total of 20,468 brought the national figure to more than 973,000 while almost 34,000 people have died after catching coronavirus.

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Mr Attal also said that the country’s hospital emergency rooms were now at 40% of capacity due to the heavy influx of COVID-19 patients.

French media reported that hospitals in the cities of Clermont and Dijon were moving to emergency mode, meaning that they postpone non-coronavirus related operations and cancel staff holidays.

Hospitals in the Paris region moved into emergency mode earlier this month, as coronavirus patients made up close to half of all patients in intensive care units (ICUs).

In a sign of how the pandemic is surging in Europe, 17 European countries – including the UK – have reported daily cases records on Wednesday.

The largest number of cases – 11,984 – was recorded in Czechia, while Poland saw 10,040.

The Netherlands logged 8,500 new cases nearly a week after ministers there announced a partial lockdown.

Ukraine (6,719), Switzerland (5,596), Romania (4,848) Slovakia (2,202), Armenia (1,836), Slovenia (1,503), Croatia (1,424), Bulgaria (1,336), Bosnia and Herzegovina (728), Lithuania (311) and Latvia (188) also set new records.

Brigitte Macron, the French first lady and wife of president Emmanuel Macron, is beginning seven days of self-isolation after coming into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, officials said.

Mrs Macron made contact with someone, who later tested positive for the illness, on Thursday, before the curfews were introduced.

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