Macron orders COVID-19 lockdown across all of France and Covid in Brazil ‘completely out of control’

, Macron orders COVID-19 lockdown across all of France and Covid in Brazil ‘completely out of control’

France’s President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered France into its third national lockdown and said schools would close for three weeks as he sought to push back a third wave of COVID-19 infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

With the death toll nearing 100,000, intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point and a slower-than-planned vaccine rollout, Macron was forced to abandon his goal of keeping the country open to protect the economy.

“We will lose control if we do not move now,” the president said in a televised address to the nation.

His announcement means that movement restrictions already in place for more than a week in Paris, and some northern and southern regions, will now apply to the whole country for at least a month, from Saturday.

Departing from his pledge to safeguard education from the pandemic, Macron said schools will close for three weeks after this weekend.

Macron, 43, had sought to avoid a third large-scale lockdown since the start of the year, betting that if he could steer France out of the pandemic without locking the country down again he would give the economy a chance to recover from last year’s slump.

But the former investment banker’s options narrowed as more contagious strains of the coronavirus swept across France and much of Europe.

For school-children after this weekend, learning will be done remotely for a week, after which schools go on a two-week holiday, which for most of the country will be earlier than scheduled.

Thereafter, nursery and primary pupils will return to school while middle and high school pupils continue distance learning for an extra week.

“It is the best solution to slow down the virus,” Macron said, adding that France had succeeded in keeping its schools open for longer during the pandemic than many neighbours, reported Reuters.

Covid in Brazil ‘completely out of control,’ says Sao Paulo-based reporter

Brazil just reached a grim Covid-19 milestone, and a reporter based in Sao Paulo doesn’t see the situation improving in the near future.

“We have people dying because of lack of oxygen, people are literally suffocating,” Patricia Campos Mello, a reporter for Folha de Sao Paulo, told CNBC’s “The News with Shepard Smith” on Tuesday. “There are no medications for intubation, there are no ICU beds. It’s a combination of lack of planning and just denialism of the seriousness of the disease.”

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“The situation is completely out of control,” Campos Mello added.

Campos Mello comments came after Brazil registered on Tuesday a daily record tally of Covid deaths, recording more than 3,700 deaths, according to data from Brazil’s health ministry. Brazil has the second-most Covid deaths in the world with , trailing only the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University. On top of that, less than 2% of Brazil’s population has received at least one vaccine dose.

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However, President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently attacked Covid-related safety measures. Earlier this month, he told people to stop “whining” about the deaths and to simply move on. Campos Mello noted the world can learn from the mistakes in Brazil.

“I think the main lesson is that, when you have a president or a leader that is spreading disinformation and saying that people should not worry, that they don’t have to do social distancing, this is very, very serious, and we are seeing the results now with all the deaths,” Campos Mello said.

Bolsonaro also replaced several of his top military officials on Tuesday, after he fired a defense minister Monday amid a major cabinet reshuffle. Campos Mello told CNBC’s Shepard Smith the political chaos is a result of Bolsonaro reacting to the widespread pressure due to the country’s mismanagement of the pandemic, according to CNBC.

“President Bolsonaro’s approval ratings are falling, so he fired some ministers, and today the chiefs of the armed forces, they resigned because they were being pressured by Bolsonaro to have some sort of curfew or extreme measures that were almost over the top,” she said.

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By Sudip Kar-Gupta, Geert De Clercq/ Emily DeCiccio from Reuters / CNBC

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