Saturday, May 18, 2024

COVID-19: France Returns To Lockdown Amid New Surge

France is now in a new national lockdown that will last at least a month as it aims to curb one of Europe’s biggest coronavirus surges and ease the pressure on its hospitals.

There were record traffic jams around Paris on Thursday evening, with many people heading for rural accommodation, but now the queues are much shorter.

The capital’s streets are, however, busier than during the March lockdown.

Schools and workplaces remain open, but people need permits to leave home.

The downloadable exemptions are for essential shopping, trips for medical reasons or for getting to work. Home-working is urged wherever possible.

People are also allowed to go out for exercise – for a maximum of an hour – in their local area. The fine for breaking the rules is €135 (£122).

The French government has issued stricter hygiene rules for schools: they must keep class sizes small and masks are now required from the age of six.

On Thursday, France declared 47,637 new daily infections and 235 Covid-related deaths. The infection rate is among the highest in Europe.

President Emmanuel Macron earlier said the country risked being “overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first”.

The French government expects a contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) of 11% in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The country is also on a heightened terror alert after a militant Islamist killed three people in a cathedral church in the southern city of Nice.

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