Second COVID wave risks being more severe than first: French health minister

FILE PHOTO: French Health Minister Olivier Veran delivers a speech during a news conference announcing the new lockdown measures in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Paris, France October 29, 2020. Ian Langsdon/Pool via REUTERS

PARIS (Reuters) - The second wave of coronavirus infections tearing across France will be more severe than the first experienced in the spring if it is allowed to continue spreading at the current rate, the country’s health minister said on Thursday

France would see the number of COVID sufferers in intensive care peak at 6,000 if the public complied with the new lockdown, or as many as 7,000 if the virus continued spreading as it is now with not everyone respecting the confinement rules, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

It reported more than 4,000 COVID patients in ICU on Wednesday.

“The next days and weeks will be difficult,” Veran told a news conference.

France is scrambling to train more health workers. Student medics could be called on once again for reinforcements, Veran added.

Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Editing by Richard Lough and David Evans