France leaning toward nationwide lockdown due to COVID spike

This would represent a policy reversal for Macron, who until now had favored a localized approach. Earlier this month, more than a third of the country including the Paris region was placed under a lighter lockdown, with some open-air activity encouraged. The U.K. went through a similar process last year, abandoning a four-tier strategy that proved over-complicated and didn’t work to contain infections.

The French government had also insisted in keeping schools open over the past year, in contrast to many European neighbors. Officials like education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer joined Macron in saying closing schools would only ever be a last resort, arguing that less well-to do families would be hit hardest, and the economy would also suffer…

“The key factor of our decision is the situation in hospitals,” Attal said. Around 5,000 people are now receiving intensive care, higher than the peak reached in November last year, during the epidemic’s second wave. “The triage of patients is not an option,” he said.