The President is spending all his energy opposing his health advisers’ calls for tougher measures, sparking one of his colleagues to admit behind closed doors: “The President has become an epidemiologist.
“He looks at all the studies as soon as they are published.
“So much so that sometimes the President can bring up one that the experts in front of him have not even read.”
The French leader is also regularly challenging his own Health Secretary Olivier Veran, who is a medical doctor, as well as all the scientists advising his cabinet, the colleague claimed.
Richard Ferrand, head of Macron’s LREM party (The Republic On The Move) said: “He looks for what’s new every day so as not to miss a thing.
“One day, he will be able to run for the immunology aggregation [France’s highest public examination in the subject].”
The French leader will address his nation at 8pm this evening to announce new measures.
“But the reality is, we still have a bit of leeway.
“We’re still not at 50,000 contaminations a day, that’s where we contained the second time.”
The number of patients in intensive care breached 5,000 on Tuesday, the highest number this year and exceeding the peak hit during a six-week-long lockdown in the autumn. Thousands of school classes have been closed down.
France faces having to tighten measures just as neighbouring Britain slowly emerges from a lockdown imposed in early January.
Mr Macron had hoped France’s COVID-19 vaccine campaign would reduce the numbers falling gravely ill. But the vaccine rollout is only now finding its stride three months after it began, with just 12 percent of the population inoculated.
Gilbert Deray, a senior clinician at the Pitie-Salpeterie hospital in Paris told Europe 1 radio: “What we needed earlier was a strict lockdown and huge vaccination drive, but it’s still not too late.”
France used medical evacuations to ease the load on overwhelmed hospitals during the first two waves of the epidemic but there has been more resistance from families in recent weeks.
A government source said the evacuations under discussion would not require family consent.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo told BFM TV that schools should be closed.
Ten days ago, the government closed non-essential stores and limited people’s movements in Paris and other regions ravaged by the virus.
Mobility data analysed by Reuters showed those measures were having markedly less impact than prior lockdowns.