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French government mulls new restrictions as intensive care units fill up

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A patient infected with COVID-19 is loaded into a plane heading to a western France hospital, at Orly airport, south of Paris, Sunday, March 14, 2021.
A patient infected with COVID-19 is loaded into a plane heading to a western France hospital, at Orly airport, south of Paris, Sunday, March 14, 2021.   -   Copyright  Jacques Witt/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
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Hospital pressure continued to rise in France on Monday, especially in the Paris region, as the government mulled over further coronavirus restrictions.

4,219 patients were in intensive care nationwide on Monday, France's public health agency reported. That is the highest level recorded since November 25.

In the Paris region, 1,152 patients were in intensive care on Monday morning, according to the regional health agency, which is the highest level reported since the peak of the second wave in mid-November.

The situation in the capital is so tense that Paris regional health authorities ordered last week the cancellation of 40 per cent of planned medical interventions in order to free up ICU beds for coronavirus patients.

The government also said that about a hundred patients would be transferred to other regions in the coming days. Six patients have already been transferred by plane or helicopter on Saturday and Sunday.

High-speed trains with a capacity of twenty patients each will be in operation by the end of the week, authorities said.

Speaking at a press conference today, President Emmanuel Macron said: "We will probably have to make new decisions in the coming days."

"The Paris region is clearly on borrowed time," region president Valérie Pécresse told France 2 television.

France is currently under a 6pm-6am curfew, with some of the most affected regions under a weekend lockdown.

Paris city officials had rejected the suggestion to lock down Parisians over the weekend as "inhumane."