In a live televised address to the nation on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that schools in France would close from next week and shift to remote learning methods due to the third wave of COVID-19 infections hitting the country.
Earlier French schoolteachers had filed a legal complaint against Health Minister Jean Michel Blanquer for alleged endangerment and lack of proper measures or enforcements to protect working teachers.
Terming the situation as "delicate", the French President said that April would prove crucial for the country to contain the spread of the virus. Restrictions on non-essential businesses and travel bans within the country would be extended nationwide, Macron announced.
This marks a turning point from the President's earlier insistence that no third lockdown would be enforced and that France would be able to contain the spate of new infections without strict measures. However, the previous move was met with vociferous criticism by doctors, especially in Paris, which is now facing a shortage of critical care beds for patients.
In a letter published in the French Journal du Dimanche, doctors warned of 'difficult choices' in the days ahead where they would be forced to choose which patients to save if hospitals were to get even more crowded. On Wednesday, France reported 59,038 new cases out of a total of 4.6 million and 95,495 COVID-related deaths.