A Parisian hospital director called for the Christmas and New Year meetings to be cancelled because of the increasing number of coronavirus cases in France.
Julien Lenglet, a hospital director at Anthony Hospital in the Paris region, told RMC radio on Thursday that the Christmas and New Year celebrations could lead to a further increase in cases.
Lenglet said the celebrations could end up as “huge intergenerational clusters that could form the origin of a possible new third wave” of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I would say without hesitation that we should cancel Christmas and Saint-Sylvestre,” Lenglet continued.
France entered a second national lockdown at the end of October to contain the spread of COVID-19.
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a television address on October 28 that the country had entered a second lockdown because France had been “overwhelmed by a second wave”.
The lockdown is expected to last until December, but could be extended or shortened depending on what the data reflects in the coming weeks, Macron said.
The European Commission has now issued a call for its member states to “work closely together” and warned that “no member state will emerge safely from this pandemic until all do”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel also announced a four-week partial closure, as the number of cases rose in October. Spain and Italy have also imposed lockdown measures.
France introduced its first lockdown in mid-March and began lifting restrictions two months later. While the country apparently flattened its virus curve during the summer months, case numbers began to rise again in August.
In October, public health officials began reporting new cases in the country on a daily basis, increasing by tens of thousands.
On November 8, France reported 86,852 cases, a record high for the country, according to World Health Organization data. France’s new daily cases have since fallen to 38,619 on November 9, a decrease of about 55 percent from the previous day.
With more than 1.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the country since the beginning of the pandemic, France is the fourth largest case number in the world after the United States, India and Brazil, according to data from John Hopkins University.
Just a few weeks before the start of the vacation season in the U.S., health authorities are also cautious about possible COVID-19 spikes due to Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s meetings.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN in October that some people should “hold back” with holiday celebrations.
“I’m saying that some people in this country will have a relatively normal kind of Thanksgiving celebration, but in other parts of the country it will be better to be restrained and perhaps have only immediate family,” Fauci said. “You know, I’d like to say that everything will be great by Thanksgiving, but I’m not so sure.