France announces curfew in major cities as virus cases surge

Clay Curtis
October 15, 2020

"It means that we won't go to restaurants after 9 p.m., we won't go round to a friend's place, we won't go out partying", Macron said, adding,"we have to adopt stricter measures in order to completely restore control".

"We have to react".

"We are going to have to deal with this virus until at least the summer of 2021", Macron said, saying "all scientists" were in agreement on that point.

"We have learned from the first wave", Macron said.

He said new daily coronavirus cases must be brought down to "3,000 or 5,000", from current levels, which have reached up to nearly 27,000.

The curfew will apply to the capital Paris and its suburbs as well as Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Aix-en-Provence, Rouen, Toulouse, Grenoble and Montpellier.

The so-called positivity rate - the proportion of people infected out of the total number of those tested - rose to 12.6% on Thursday from 12.2% on Wednesday.

Covid alert level: London and Essex to move into Tier 2 restrictions
Under Tier 1 restrictions, groups of more than six are not allowed, indoors or outdoors, and pubs, bars and restaurants must close by 10pm.

Macron acknowledged the measure was hard on young people, but that the health crisis left little choice.

Paris had been largely spared those measures, but alarms were raised Saturday after the country recorded almost 27,000 new cases in the previous 24-hour period, a record for France during the pandemic, with a worrying number of infections concentrated in the capital.

He warned that those caught ignoring the curfew would face a €135 ($158) fine, which could balloon to as much as €7,500 ($8,771) - and lead to a six-month prison sentence - for third-time violations.

France initially declared a state of health emergency in March, paving the way for the government to urge people to stay at home during lockdown.

The Health Ministry reported 22,500 cases in 24 hours and 6,000 new hospitalizations in the previous seven days - 1,000 of those in intensive care units.

France was facing "a health catastrophe", according to the minutes from a cabinet meeting.

Macron called the curfew an "appropriate" measure, adding that the government did want to re-impose a second complete lockdown on the country, which he said was "disproportionate".

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