Sun, 19 Sep 2021

Health officials in France have activated an emergency plan on the Mediterranean island of Corsica as a fourth wave of Covid infections spreads across the country.

On Tuesday, the French government announced it was reactivating a package of measures designed to support medical staff as they brace for a fresh intake of cases.

This comes as more of France's popular coastal areas have reintroduced the compulsory wearing of masks in a bid to stem the incoming coronavirus tide.

Health officials on Corsica say they are providing more intensive care beds for Covid patients and mobilising medical staff as hospital occupancy in Bastia, one of the island's two main cities, passed 79 percent.

The news comes a day after Guadaloupe became the third of France's overseas territories to announce a return to partial lockdown because of a "catastrophic" surge in Covid cases.

An overnight curfew and some daytime restrictions start from 8pm this Wednesday.

Martinique, another French Caribbean island territory, returned to lockdown last Friday, while the island of Reunion entered partial lockdown this weekend.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Jean Castex chaired a meeting of the interministerial team handling the crisis, where it was agreed to use the army to provide more intensive care beds to overseas territories.

The French government also announced it would reintroduce overtime bonuses for hospital workers, as well as compensation for paid holidays they could not take because of pressure of work.

Guadeloupe re-enters lockdown as Covid-19 creates "catastrophic situation" Lockdowns imposed as Covid cases surge in several French overseas territoriesCompulsory wearing of masks returns

Meawhile, several coastal resorts around France have also reintroduced compulsory mask wearing less than two months after the authorities lifted restrictions.

In northwest France, Brittany's Finistere region ordered people to cover their mouths and noses outdoors from Monday after an increase in Covid cases.

Masks have been compulsory outdoors in the Morbihan area of Brittany since last week.

Officials in the foothills of the Pyrenees, on the border with Spain, and at Lake Annecy, at the foot of the Alps, have introduced similar measures.

Across France, the Delta variant of the virus is pushing up the number of hospital admissions.

Patients in intensive care now number 1,331 compared with 978 a week ago, while the deaths of another 57 people over the last 24 hours pushed France's toll past 112,000.

Originally published on RFI

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