France’s Veran: We will win coronavirus fight but lockdown not over

FILE PHOTO: French PM Castex holds COVID-19 news conference
FILE PHOTO: French Health Minister Olivier Veran speaks during a news conference on the country's COVID-19 situation at the French Health Ministry in Paris, France November 12, 2020. Ludovic Marin/Pool via REUTERS

November 19, 2020

PARIS (Reuters) – France will win its battle against the coronavirus but it is a struggle which will take time, Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Thursday, warning the lockdown was not yet over.

Veran said the mental health of people in France was deteriorating during the second lockdown due to anxiety and uncertainty caused by the pandemic.

“The virus circulates less than before the lockdown. We must not let down our efforts… The lockdown is not over,” Veran told a news conference.

President Emmanuel Macron is due to address the nation next week about the pandemic and the restrictions.

Jerome Salomon, the government’s top public health official said that for the third day in a row the number of people hospitalised with COVID-19 was declining.

As of Thursday, there were 32,345 people hospitalised for COVID-19 infections, including 4,653 in Intensive Care Units. This compared with 32,842 people hospitalised on Wednesday, including 4,775 in ICUs,

The virus has killed 47,127 people in France.

After curfew measures in major French cities in mid-October failed to produce the results the government had hoped for, it enforced a one-month lockdown on Oct. 30, though it was less strict than the one that ran from March 17 to May 11.

Recent positive trends such as a decline in hospitalisations for COVID-19 infections have led to calls to start loosening the lockdown as soon as possible.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Richard Lough and Janet Lawrence)