French hospitals delay operations to cope with COVID surge

Hospitals in the Paris and Marseille regions are delaying some scheduled operations to free up space for COVID-19 patients as the French government tries to stem a rising tide of coronavirus infections

As restaurants and bars in Marseille prepared to shut down Sunday night for a week as part of scattered new French virus restrictions, Health Minister Olivier Veran insisted that the country plans no new lockdowns.

In response, Veran said on LCI television that “we do not want to confine the country again. Several countries around us made other choices. We don’t want this.”

While at least 10% of French intensive care beds are now occupied with COVID patients, Veran said they’re far from saturation.

Still, he said hospitals in the Paris and Marseille regions are delaying scheduled surgeries to free up space. Hospitals temporarily suspended such operations when the virus swept through France in March and April, creating backlogs that still persist six months later, adding to the strain on patients and medical staff.

Marseille restaurant and bar owners and local officials have protested the government's closure order, accusing the central government in Paris of singling out their rival Mediterranean city for punishment.

The government is imposing milder restrictions on Paris and several other cities, with gyms shut down, public gatherings of more than 10 people banned and bars ordered to close at 10 p.m. starting Monday night.

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