France must accept new national lockdown, says hospital professor

A deserted Champs-Elysees avenue is seen near the Arc de Triomphe during the nightly curfew imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France, October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - Professor Philippe Juvin, a leading member of Paris’ Georges-Pompidou hospital, told RTL radio on Wednesday that France had to accept a new, national lockdown to tackle a resurgence of the COVID-19 virus.

“We must take it up,” said Juvin.

French President Emmanuel Macron will give a televised address on Wednesday evening. His government has been exploring a new, national lockdown from midnight on Thursday, BFM TV reported, albeit a slightly more flexible one than the two-month shutdown that began in mid-March.

Schools could remain open even as restrictions on people’s movements become more severe, BFM TV added.

France imposed a night-time curfew on major cities, including Paris, two weeks ago running from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., but the COVID-19 figures have continued to worsen.

Official data on Tuesday showed that France had reported 523 new deaths from COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, and 33,417 new confirmed COVID cases.

France has registered a total of 35,541 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,198,695 confirmed COVID cases.

The prospect of a new lockdown also hit the French stock market, with Paris’ benchmark CAC-40 index falling by 2.8 percent by 0940 GMT, while travel and leisure stocks such as Air France KLM and hotels group Accor also slumped.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Andrew Heavens & Simon Cameron-Moore