PARIS — French Prime Minister Jean Castex has warned that France could impose further restrictions as the coronavirus is spreading rapidly and the situation in hospitals is deteriorating in the country.
Speaking on French news broadcaster France Info on Monday, Castex said that “there can be no more slackening” to face the COVID-19 epidemic. Nine big cities, including Paris and Marseille, have been placed under maximum virus alert.
Castex called on French people to limit private gatherings in their homes. He said a “general lockdown” of the country “must be avoided by all means.”
French health authorities reported about 43,000 new infections over the weekend.
The director of the Paris region public health agency, Aurelien Rousseau, said that COVID-19 patients now occupy more than 42% of ICU beds in the capital and its suburbs. Speaking on BFM TV, he said that the rate of positive tests reached 17% in the region.
France is one of Europe’s hardest-hit countries, with at least 32,730 virus-related deaths.