France Gets Curfew Anew as Virus Cases Shoot Up
The French government has imposed a nighttime curfew for several cities, including Paris, in a bid to keep the coronavirus outbreak at bay and protect the vulnerable and health workers.
In a televised interview on Wednesday and was reported by Al Jazeera, French President Emmanuel Macron said that individuals in Paris and eight cities namely Grenoble, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, and Toulouse will not be allowed outdoors between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless necessary.
The restriction will be imposed for at least four weeks beginning Saturday, October 17, to prevent people from visiting restaurants and private homes in the evening.
It could be extended for two more weeks depending on the need but such an extension would require the approval of the parliament.
“We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus,” Macron was quoted as saying.
“We won’t be leaving the restaurant after 9 pm. We won’t be partying with friends because we know that that’s where the contamination risk is greatest,” he added.
On the other hand, no new restrictions were announced on public transportation or travel between regions but private gatherings should respect the rule of no more than six people at a table.
Violators without special authorization will face a penalty of 135 euros.
Government to Support Affected Workers
At the same briefing, Macron said that the government will provide aid to workers affected by the new restriction. He did not elaborate.
Meanwhile, cinemas and theaters can continue operations, but operators will have to cooperate with French authorities by adjusting their show schedule.
“The message I want to send this evening is that I need each of you, we need each other, to find solutions,” said Macron. “We will come out of this stronger because we will be more united.”
Health Situation ‘Worrying’
Macron denied claims that France was losing control of the virus, but said that the increasing number of cases was putting the health sector under great pressure.
He described the situation as “worrying.”
At present, France’s average daily case is at 20,000 cases, 200 of which are being taken to intensive care.
So far, the virus has killed 32,000 in France.