France imposed a curfew Paris and eight other cities starting from Saturday.
“We have to act. We need to curb the spread of the virus,” President Emmanuel Macron said on a television appearance, announcing that the curfew from 9 pm to 6 am would remain in place for at least four weeks, except for basic reasons.
Macron said: “We will have to deal with this virus at least until the summer of 2021,” noting that “all scientists” agree on this point.
Other major French cities such as Lyon and the port of Marseille on the Mediterranean and southwest of Toulouse will likewise impose curfews, affecting about 20 million people out of a total population of around 67 million.
Macron said the daily new coronavirus cases should be reduced to “3,000 or 5,000”, from current levels of nearly 27,000.
“We will not leave the restaurant after 9 pm,” Macron said. “We’re not going to party with friends because we know this is where the risk of contamination is greatest.”
Just minutes before Macron announced, his government said it would prolong the health emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of the epidemic.
He urged people to limit gatherings in their homes to six people, and to wear protective masks on such occasions.
Macron said anyone found outdoors during curfew without special permission would face a fine of 135 euros ($ 159) and more than ten times that amount for repeat offenders.
Macron said 32% of France’s 5,000 intensive care places are currently occupied by coronavirus patients, a percentage that should be reduced to “10 to 15% at most”.
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