French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a nightly curfew in Paris and eight other cities to control the rapid spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The curfews will take effect from Saturday and run from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m the following morning. It comes shortly after the government declared a new public health state of emergency.The metropolitan areas affected include the greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Lille, Lyon, Grenoble and Rouen. The curfew will be applied for four weeks to begin with, but could be extended to six at the approval of the parliament
The measures will stop people visiting restaurants and private homes during the evening and night-time. Residents will need a valid reason to be outside their homes during the hours of curfew but essential trips will be permitted. Schools will remain open and people will still be able to travel between regions during the day.
“We have to react,” Macron said in an interview on national television. “We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus. We have to reduce the number of social contacts … of festive contacts, that are taking place. It will demand a big effort from everyone – but it is necessary.”
Macron said France had not lost control of the virus, but added: “We are in a worrying situation.”
France reported 22,591 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the third time in six days the daily tally has gone beyond the 20,000 threshold.
Macron said the objective of the curfew was to reduce the number of new infections per day to between 3,000 and 5,000, and he warned the country would have to live with the virus until at least next summer.
France is one of several countries in Europe to impose new restrictions in a bid to tackle a second wave of infections across the continent.