Paris lockdown due to Coronavirus: The city faces potential confinement as Covid sweeps across Europe

French Health Minister Olivier Ferrand said Thursday evening, “Since yesterday, in the past twenty-four hours, Paris has crossed the threshold that would place it in the category of high alert.”

The “maximum alert” threshold is reached in France when the infection rate reaches 250 per 100,000 people, coronavirus patients occupy at least 30% of intensive care beds, and the rate among the elderly exceeds 100 per 100,000.

The Paris region had already met the last two criteria.

Speaking from the Bichat Claude Bernard hospital in the city, Ferrand said that if “development” is confirmed in the coming days, “we will have no choice but to place Paris and its closest suburbs in the highest alert category by Monday.”

“We will re-examine the indicators on Sunday with the Mayor of Paris and the elected officials,” he added.

Aurelene Rousseau, head of the Paris region health authority, told France Inter radio on Wednesday that 34% of intensive care beds are occupied by Covid-19 patients in the region, and that the infection rate for people over 65 was over 100 per 100,000 people. .

He said the rate was also very high for people between the ages of 20 and 30, at 450 cases per 100,000 people.

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Marseille and the French province of Guadeloupe are already on “high alert”, which means that bars and restaurants have been forced to close. According to the French Ministry of Health, this alert level also means the closure of all institutions such as cinemas and museums unless they have strict and respectful health protocols, and an optional closure of beaches and lake areas. The only higher alert level is a “health emergency”.

Many Paris business owners feared the long-term impact of the lockdowns and were protesting the current restrictions.

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Paris was already on a “heightened alert”, with gatherings limited to 10 people and a curfew in bars at 10 pm since Monday. The Paris Police Department said last week that companies could be made to close if they fail to comply with regulations.

Passengers pack a metro train during the morning rush hour on September 28th in Paris.

Masks are mandatory for pedestrians and motorcyclists in the area, and they must be worn in all enclosed public places, including school students over the age of 11.

Cases in France increased by 13,970 on Thursday, taking the total number to 577,505 with 32,019 deaths. Cases recorded a record daily increase of 16,096 on September 24.

This news comes after the Spanish government announced the re-closure of Madrid, with people unable to leave or enter the area.

Countries across Europe are re-imposing local lockdowns and new restrictions to combat the second wave of infections sweeping the continent, with families in northern England banned from mixing indoors, and the Dutch government making masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly mentioned who should wear masks outdoors in Paris. Only pedestrians and scooter riders need to wear it.

Fanny Bebel, Gail Fournier and Pierre Bout contributed to the reporting.

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