The French cities of Toulouse and Montpellier will be added to the “maximum alert” category as of Tuesday, the respective regional health agencies announced Sunday.

Paris, Marseille, Lille, Lyon, Grenoble, Saint-Etienne and the overseas department of Guadeloupe are already in the “maximum alert category” and are under stricter coronavirus measures, like the closure of bars and gyms.

A “maximum alert” is established when: the incidence rate of the virus is over 250 cases per 100,000 people, when the incidence rate for people aged 65 or over is more than 100, and when more than 30% of ICU beds are being used by coronavirus patients.

In a series of tweets late Sunday, French Health Minister Olivier Veran responded to criticism of the measures and suggestions that more ICU beds should be put in place:

“Our health workers gave a lot during the first wave and are tired. (More ICU beds) would imply a massive cancellation of planned surgeries, and a further delay in care. What we want is to slow down the virus, avoid severe forms, limit having people in ICUs and limit deaths. Beyond hospital capacities, it is the lives of French people that we protect.”

Rising cases: Nationally, the number of people testing positive has increased further, with 16,101 new cases in the previous 24 hours, the national health authority said Sunday. A single-day high of 26,896 new cases was announced on Saturday for the previous 24 hours.

The positivity rate is also rising and now stands at 11.5%. Aurelien Rousseau, head of the Paris regional health authority, said Monday morning that in the capital region alone, the positivity rate was 17%. Rousseau, speaking on CNN affiliate BFM, said “this is a number we have never reached.”

Source: CNN

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