PARIS (Reuters) – France must do everything possible to avoid locking up elderly people in nursing homes to protect them from a resurgence in coronavirus infections nationwide, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.
The number of coronavirus infections has spiralled higher in France in recent weeks, including the number of admissions to intensive care units, and elderly people are seen most at risk.
“We must as long as possible allow our fellow citizens in nursing homes to continue having interactions,” Macron said during a visit to an elderly care home in Bracieux, Loir-et-Cher, in central France.
“We want to avoid the radical and massive response we made in March-April when we had less understanding of the virus and had fewer tests available.”
Some of France’s biggest cities outside Paris including Marseille, Lyon and Bordeaux have imposed new restrictions to try to slow the coronavirus’ spread and reduce the number of intensive care admissions.
Almost 31,340 people in France have died from COVID-19, the health ministry said on Monday, and the cumulative number of cases stood at more than 458,000.
Some 638 COVID-19 sufferers were admitted to intensive care units over the past seven days, official data showed. Of 1,077 coronavirus clusters being investigated, 178 were in elderly care homes.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Editing by Timothy Heritage)