Macron crisis: President accused of ‘improvising’ and failing to prep for new COVID surge

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Jean-Luc Melenchon’s scathing review of the French president’s performance during the public health crisis comes after an A&E union chief warned hospitals have reached a “tipping point”. On Saturday France registered 13,500 new cases of COVID-19 – a record rise since the nationwide lockdown.

Mr Melenchon, who leads France Insoumise (Rebellious France) said: “The government didn’t plan anything to face a second wave.”

During an interview with BFM TV, he said his party is not surprised hospitals were not prepared for a second round of infections as the summer came to a close.

He added: “We can see the improvisation.

“There are no extra beds, we don’t have the staff that we would need.

“Nothing was organised and we expected this to happen.”

In another interview, Mr Melenchon told Le Figaro said Mr Macron’s government had “nothing planned” for the second wave.

And he said the lack of preparation was likely to lead to anxiety among the population with winter around the corner.

He said: “The mood of angst is not good for anyone.

“This country cannot live in permanent exaggerated quarrels, plus the state of anguish on its own health.”

He added: “When nothing is organised, you ask yourself ‘why?’

“You cannot think they are incapable, so you tell yourself ‘they have an idea in their head.”

Last week France experienced a rise in hospital COVID-19 deaths week on week for the first time since the end of the lockdown in May.

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More than 55 of the country’s counties are now classed as virus “red zones”.

Several towns have seen restrictions stepped up, which include curfews for bars and restaurants.

François Braun, president of France’s Samu-Urgences union, issued a warning over the “significant” jump in infections.

He told Le Parisien: “For the past ten days, we’ve witnessed a pretty significant rise in cases and this rise is constant from one day to the next.

“The second wave is here and there is still time to prepare for it in hospitals.”

On Monday authorities in Lyon announced a tightening of coronavirus restrictions to counter a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases and a surge in intensive care admissions.

Attendance at major outdoor events including festivals will be limited to 1,000 people from the 5,000 allowed now.

The sale and consumption of alcohol outdoors will be prohibited from 8pm, and visits to nursing home residents restricted to two per week.

Bars and restaurants will be permitted to serve patrons only at tables; dancing and drinking standing at the bar will be prohibited.

The new measures will come into effect on Tuesday.

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