Frederic Valletoux calls for "solidarity between regions" to fight French coronavirus outbreak.

As Paris and it's suburbs now account for more than a quarter of France's 29,000 hospitalised coronavirus cases, the hospitals themselves are fast approaching breaking point. Almost 1,300 patients are in intensive care, and it is feared that saturation point could be reached at some time on Sunday, unless drastic measures are taken.

Elsewhere in France, the situation is similarly grim.

"We will clearly need help in the Ile-de-France (Greater Paris region) because what happened in the east is coming here," Frederic Valletoux, mayor of Fontainebleau and president of the Fédération hospitalière de France told BFM TV, referring to the Grand Est region, where the first major cluster took hold in France and where hospitals are already overwhelmed, with the army helping to transfer some critically ill patients to other cities.

"We will be at the limit of our capacities in 24 or 48 hours. We will need to show real solidarity between regions, hospitals and increase the numbers of patient transfers," he added.

Meanwhile officials in the Paris area are struggling in an attempt to more intensive care beds, ventilators and medical staff, and to spread the load of patients across the capital and its wider suburbs.

On March 17th President Emmanuel Macron imposed a lockdown to slow the spread of the virus, but doctors say they expect a wave of cases next week after the government pressed ahead with local elections and thousands of people mingled in parks and streets before they were confined at home.

"If we let hospitals cope by themselves, and let every territory that has been taken by the epidemic cope alone, then we shall head towards a catastrophe," Valletoux said.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and published author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

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