France’s Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot was admitted to hospital after contracting Covid-19, her spokesperson told CNN Wednesday, the second government minister hospitalized with the virus this week. The 74-year-old had received her first dose of the vaccine on March 17.
Labor Minister Élisabeth Borne, 59, was hospitalized with Covid-19 on Monday and was discharged on Wednesday, according to a ministry press release.
“I am relieved,” Borne tweeted as she left hospital. She tested positive for the virus on March 1.
Covid lockdown: France is in the throes of a third wave of the coronavirus, with new lockdown restrictions implemented in 16 areas last Friday.
Non-essential businesses have been closed in the most impacted areas of France, where people have been forbidden to go further than 10km from their home or travel between regions without a valid reason.
The new measures are less restrictive than those imposed in March and November of last year, Prime Minister Jean Castex acknowledged when he announced them last week.
“Very clearly, the messages haven’t got through. The confusion of the weekend has led to more distrust,” Jean-François Timsit, ICU chief at the Paris’ Bichat hospital, said on France Inter radio on Wednesday, referring to backtracking over travel permits as he criticized the complicated nature of the restrictions.
“We should have put the brakes on earlier,” he added in the interview.
Recalling that positive Covid-19 cases now could require hospitalization in the coming weeks, Timsit said: “The next month is going to be hellish.”
“We’ve got several difficult weeks ahead of us,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on BFMTV Wednesday morning, adding: “Covid is once again taking a kind of expansion, it is very worrying.”
Easter restrictions: The minister said in the interview that there will be no easing of restrictions for the Easter weekend, although church services will be allowed to go ahead outside of the night-time curfew. He also encouraged the French public “not to gather together over the coming weekends.”
“We must limit them,” the minister said of Easter celebrations. “They must stay within the strict family intimacy of the home, of the apartment, and we should not receive friends, family, nor travel.”