‘We must react’: France’s Macron announces nightly curfews to control Covid-19

PARIS — France will impose a nightly curfew on almost one third of the country’s 67 million people to tackle a resurgent coronavirus, but a new national lockdown is not envisaged, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

Macron announced the curfews, which will take effect from Saturday and run from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the following morning, shortly after the government declared a new public health state of emergency.

People dine at a restaurant as France's President Emmanuel Macron gives an address on television, in Saint jean de Luz, southwestern France, on Oct. 14, 2020.Bob Edme / AP

The president said the curfews, which will remain in force for four weeks, would be imposed in the greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier and five other cities.

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Anyone violating a curfew to be imposed in major cities would be fined 135 euros ($158.61), Macron said.

Macron said that, while the curfew lasts, people would have to forget about night-time visits to restaurants or to friends’ houses. Essential trips during curfew would still be allowed.

He said there would be no restrictions on public transport, and people would still be able to travel between French regions without restrictions.

“We have to react,” Macron said in an interview on national television.

Macron said France had not lost control of the virus, but added: “We are in a worrying situation.”

France reported 22,591 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, the third time in six days the daily tally has gone beyond the 20,000 threshold.

The virus has claimed more than 32,000 lives in France.

The state of emergency hands officials greater powers to impose new restrictions.

The French government previously declared a public health state of emergency in March this year, when hospitalisations caused by the pandemic were near their peak.

At the time, the authorities used their extra powers to order people to stay at home except for essential work, buying food or taking one hour of daily exercise.


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