France imposes curfew in Paris, other major cities as COVID-19 cases surge

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New Delhi (NVI): The France government imposed a night-time curfew in Paris and eight other main cities from this weekend to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The night curfew will take effect from October 17 and run each night from 9pm to 6am the following morning for at least four weeks, the French President Emmanuel Macron announced at a press briefing. However, a public health emergency has also been declared.

Apart from Paris curfew will be imposed in Saint-Etienne, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Grenoble, Toulouse, Montpellier and Rouen. The tough measures come as the country continues to battle the virus with over 32,000 fatalities reported.

These regions are already on maximum alert, with bars and gyms shut down, theatres and restaurants under strict health protocol.

In his first major TV appearance since July, Macron spoke on deadly virus which starts off again and spreads rapidly in Europe and France while reassuring that the second wave of COVID-19 remained under control.

The new measures will stop people visiting restaurants and private homes during the evening and night-time, he said.

In areas where infections exceed 50 per 1,00,000 inhabitants, bars and restaurants must close their doors by 23:00 and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in public spaces such as beaches and parks.

Residents will need a valid reason to be outside their homes during the hours of curfew, the president said, adding that he understood that a curfew was a hard thing to ask people to do.

Essential trips will be permitted and anyone found breaking the curfew will be fined 135 euros (159 U.S. dollars), and permissions will be available for those who have health emergencies and work at night, he added.

Schools will remain open and people will still be able to travel between regions during the day. Additionally, no more than six people will be allowed to gather inside private homes, but exemptions will be made for large households, Macron said.

He also promised that the government will adopt a testing strategy to drastically reduce the delays to have the results.

Notably, many other nations in Europe including Germany, Ireland and Netherlands have been witnessing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and have imposed restrictions to curb the new infections.

France has been in a second wave of the coronavirus with an average of 20,000 new virus cases per day. Macron said the new measures aimed to reduce daily cases to around 3,000.

So far, the total number of coronavirus cases in France stands at 8,20,376, Europe’s second biggest tally after Spain.

-RJV