PARIS - Hospitals in and around Paris are under great strain due to the spread of COVID-19 variants, but authorities are not considering a regional lockdown, France's health director said on Tuesday.

Jerome Salomon spoke a day after medical authorities in the Paris region - which accounts for about one-sixth of France's population - ordered hospitals to cancel 40% of their regular activities to make space for critical COVID-19 patients.

"A lockdown in the greater Paris region is not on the agenda," Salomon told RTL radio.

"Lockdown is a last resort measure that would be submitted to the government and the president if we were under the impression the hospital system could not cope," Salomon said.

On a national level, the number of people treated in French intensive care units (ICUs) for COVID-19 reached a 14-1/2-week-high on Monday, at 3,849. That figure is close to 1,000 in the Paris region. 

(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Andrew Heavens) ((; +33149495339;))