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COVID-19: Paris doctors warn hospitals ‘overwhelmed’ amid Europe’s third wave

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By Euronews with AP, AFP
People stroll along the Seine river bank in Paris, where hospitals are under significant pressure from COVID-19 patients
People stroll along the Seine river bank in Paris, where hospitals are under significant pressure from COVID-19 patients   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Michel Euler
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Hospitals in Paris are on the verge of being “overwhelmed” due to the rising number of COVID-19 patients, doctors have warned, as Europe battles a third wave of the disease.

Critical care doctors warned in a letter in the Le Journal du Dimanche newspaper that they may be forced to choose which patients they have the resource to treat.

It comes as French President Emmanuel Macron continues to defend his decision not to completely lockdown the country again.

Instead a national curfew was put in force, along with further targeted restrictions in 19 départements with rising coronavirus case numbers which include the cities of Paris, Lyon and Nice.

“We already know that our capacity to offer care will be overwhelmed," wrote the Paris-area doctors in Le Journal du Dimanche.

“We will be obliged to triage patients in order to save as many lives as possible. This triage will concern all patients, with and without COVID, in particular for adult patients' access to critical care.”

Stricter partial lockdowns have been enforced in some regions of France, including in the city of Lyon where COVID cases are spiking.

Measures tightened across Europe

France is just one of a number of European countries battling yet another wave of COVID-19 cases.

Portugal further tightened border restrictions with other EU member states on Monday. Travel from European countries where the incidence rate is greater than 150 cases per 100,000 is limited to essential trips only. Those coming from countries where the incidence rate is over 500 per 100,000 will also have to submit to a 14-day quarantine.

Overall, the new measures impact 26 of the EEA's remaining 30 countries. Portugal has the second-lowest incidence rate among them at 71 cases per 100,000 population.

Travellers from Euroepan countries where the incidence rate is over 500 cases per 100,000 will have to submit to a 14-day quarantine upon arrival

In Spain, the government announced on Saturday anyone crossing the French border would be required to have a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before.

Despite rising case numbers in Catalonia, Barcelona held a rock concert for 5,000 people on Saturday night, as part of a test to see whether COVID screening would allow larger events to go ahead without causing outbreaks.

Belgium has shut non-medical contact professions, such as hairdressers, for four weeks, while non-essential shops can now only receive customers by appointment.

Poland has decided to close nurseries, large furniture and DIY shops, as well as beauty and hairdressing salons. In churches, one person per 20 square metres of floor space will now be allowed, compared to 15 square metres previously.

In the UK, which has Europe’s highest death toll from coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he saw "absolutely nothing" in the science that would justify revising his plan to move England out of a third containment, while some scientists warn of new variants of the coronavirus.

On Sunday Pope Francis held Palm Sunday Mass in the Vatican, marking the entry into the Holy Week of Easter - but proceedings were heavily scaled back for the second year in a row.

Traditionally, the pope leads a Palm Sunday procession through St Peter’s Square in front of tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists, but just a few dozen were allowed to attend.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Russians to get vaccinated, with the country struggling against vaccine hesitancy.

Putin himself said he had been vaccinated less than a week ago, and said on state TV: "If a person wants to feel confident, does not want to get sick and suffer serious consequences after an illness, then it is better to get vaccinated, of course.”

According to a survey published at the beginning of March by the independent centre Levada, nearly two-thirds of Russians believe that COVID-19 is a man-made "biological weapon", and 62 per cent of those questioned are not prepared to be vaccinated.

Putin said on Sunday that Russia will be able to lift the remaining restrictions due to the pandemic once 70 per cent of Russian adults have been vaccinated against the coronavirus.