France expects peak of COVID-19 third wave within 10 days: health minister

The third coronavirus wave in France would reach its peak in seven to 10 days, Health Minster Olivier Veran said on Thursday, hoping the new restrictive rules would have “strong impact on the epidemic dynamic.”

“We could reach a peak of the epidemic in seven to 10 days if all goes according to the plan. Then we need two extra weeks to reach a peak in intensive care units (ICUs) that could occur at the end of April,” Veran told France inter radio.

Since March, daily COVID-19 infections have spiralled to an average of nearly 30,000 cases, with 59,038 people diagnosed with the disease on Wednesday, the biggest one-day jump since Nov. 6, data from health authorities showed.

With COVID-19 patients filling up the country’s 5,100 resuscitation beds, and the death toll nearing 100,000, President Emmanuel Macron ordered on Wednesday evening three-week schools closure and nationwide lockdown to contain the virus resurgence.

From Saturday, shops not selling basic goods will have to close, people must stay at home, work remotely and sign a document if they plan to travel over 10 km from their homes. Inter-city travel is banned for at least one month.

The new restrictions “will make it possible to stop this epidemic wave which is very strong and to move towards a more serene spring and to have more freedom by May,” Veran said. “It takes between seven and ten days for measures to show effect.”