French COVID-19 intensive care patient numbers rise again

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France on Sunday recorded a further rise in the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units to a new high for this year, health ministry data showed, as doctors warned a third wave of infections could soon overwhelm hospitals.

There were 4,872 ICU patients being treated for COVID-19, up from 4,791 on Saturday, the data showed. That was close to a mid-November peak during France’s second wave of the virus though well below a high of about 7,000 in April last year.

The overall number of COVID-19 patients in hospital rose to 27,712 from 27,259.

A group of 41 hospital doctors in the Paris region signed an article in Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche warning they risk having to start choosing between patients for emergency treatment.

Scientists have argued that the government’s partial lockdown measures targeting high-infection zones like Paris are inadequate faced with fast-spreading coronavirus variants.

French President Emmanuel Macron this week defended his decision to not impose a third full lockdown and to keep schools open, but said further restrictions would probably be needed.

Total deaths in French hospitals linked to the virus reached 68,597, on Sunday, up 131 from the previous day, the data showed.

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