France ordered into third national lockdown as new COVID-19 infections double in a month

  • Tue, 06 Apr 2021 14:17:33 GMT
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Since Sunday, only businesses deemed essential by the government have been allowed to remain open.

Restaurants, clothing stores and cinemas have all been forced to close.

A 7:00pm curfew has been imposed across the country for the past two weeks.

People are allowed to go out in a 10-kilometre radius from their homes without needing a permission slip.

Beyond that limit, people are only allowed to move for imperious reasons, including professional travel, medical care or buying basic necessities among others.

France has reported one of the world’s highest virus death tolls, at 96,280 people, and the highest number of virus infections in Europe.

Daily new infections in France have doubled since February, to average nearly 40,000.

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care has topped 5,000, exceeding the peak hit during a six-week lockdown late last year.

The third lockdown will force the temporary closure of 150,000 businesses at a cost of 11 billion euros ($17 billion) per month, the finance ministry said.

France is withdrawing into its third national lockdown as the death toll from the country's coronavirus pandemic nears 100,000.   With intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point and a slower than planned vaccine rollout, President Emmanuel Macron has been forced to abandon his goal of keeping the country open to protect the economy.

"We will lose control if we do not move now," he said.

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.

The President had tried to avoid a third large-scale lockdown, betting that if he could steer France out of the pandemic without shutting the country down again he would give the economy a chance to recover from last year's slump.

But options narrowed as more contagious strains of the coronavirus swept across France and much of Europe.

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

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