France announced a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of North amid a problematic rollout with its vaccines on Thursday.
The country is experiencing a third wave of the virus with the Covid-19 variant first detected in Britain now accounting for 75% of all cases.
Intensive care units at hospitals have become strained, most especially in Paris where there are 400 infections for every 100,000 residents. 1,200 people are currently in intensive care in Paris, according to the country’s health minister.
On Thursday, France reported 35,00 new cases including more Covid-19 patients in the intensive care wards of Paris hospitals than at the peak of the virus’s second wave.
The lockdowns will being Friday at midnight. Schools will remain open but non-essential businesses must close. People will be allowed to exercise within 6 miles of their home but will not be allowed to travel to other parts of the country.
President Emmanuel Macron had tried to keep France open and even defied calls in late January to close his country. Nonetheless, the challenges with the AstraZeneca vaccine frustrated attempts to vaccinate the population.
Beginning Friday, France will resume vaccinations using the AstraZeneca vaccine. This follows the European Medicines Agency’s review of the shot which determined that the vaccine was not associated with a higher risk of blood clots.