Macron to consult COVID advisors, says official, as infections spread

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PARIS (Reuters) – President Emmanuel Macron will consult with doctors and scientists advising his government on the coronavirus pandemic, a government official said, after he suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine as infection rates soar in parts of France.

Macron has resisted the calls from some senior medics and epidemiologists for a third nationwide lockdown in the hope France’s faltering vaccine rollout will slow infections and reduce the number falling gravely ill and ending up in hospital.

On Monday, shortly after announcing that France would pause its use of the AstraZeneca shot, Macron said decisions would doubtless have to be taken in the next few days.

The government source said Tuesday’s discussions were to get an update on the epidemic’s evolution from advisors and growing pressure on intensive care wards. The situation is particularly acute in Paris and its surrounds.

A nationwide nightly curfew has been in place since mid-December and some regions in the north and southeast of the country are already under weekend lockdown.

France total number of cases throughout the pandemic stands at 4.08 million, with 90,788 deaths. Intensive care cases rose to 4,219 on Monday, the highest since late November when France was under full lockdown.

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