Second French minister hospitalised with Covid-19

France's culture minister Roselyne Bachelot has been hospitalised after testing positive for Covid-19 over the weekend, a source close to the minister told AFP on Wednesday.

Second French minister hospitalised with Covid-19
Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot is the second French minister to be hospitalised for Covid-19. Photo: Ludovic MARIN / AFP

The worsening symptoms for Bachelot, 74, comes after the announcement Monday that her cabinet colleague Elisabeth Borne, the 59-year-old labour minister, had also been hospitalised with the coronavirus.

“Her condition is stable and is not worrying,” the source said, adding that Bachelot’s doctor ordered “increased surveillance at hospital for a few days.”

Paris and its suburbs are seeing a surge in Covid cases that prompted the government last week to close non-essential businesses in a third lockdown since the pandemic began, though with less strict stay-at-home orders.

On Tuesday, the government also issued new guidelines for companies in Paris and other regions placed on maximum alerts, urging them to have a maximum number of employees work from home.

READ ALSO: France’s new lockdown ‘light rules’ explained

Hospitals in the Paris region are racing to free up beds after the number of patients in intensive care reached 1,370 on Tuesday, with officials now aiming to have 2,200 beds available in the coming days. 

Nationwide, the number of intensive care patients stands at 4,634 and doctors warn that cases are on track to match the peak of 4,900 seen during the second wave of infections that hit France last autumn.

President Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday a new push to step up France’s inoculation drive with the arrival of increased vaccine shipments in April, including the creation of 35 mass vaccination centres.

The country has administered nearly 6.4 million initial doses of the three vaccines available in France, representing 9.5 percent of the population, according to health ministry data compiled by the site.

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