Canada Association of Tourism Employees

16 areas in France return on COVID-19 lockdown

18 million French people in regions such as Paris, Hauts-de-France in the north and the Alpes-Maritimes on the Mediterranean should stay at home

  • France has been under a nationwide curfew since mid-December
  • In the 16 most affected regions of France, new “massive measures” will come into force to contain the new COVID-19 surge
  • The variant, first discovered in the UK, now accounts for 75 percent of the country’s new positive cases

The French government announced today that new “massive measures” will come into force in the 16 hardest hit regions of France to contain the new COVID-19 flare-up.

The country’s prime minister, Jean Castex, said at a press conference that as of midnight tomorrow, around 18 million French people should be staying at home in regions such as Paris, Hauts-de-France in the north and the Alpes-Maritimes on the Mediterranean.

The only authorized trips outside of the home are to go to work when you cannot remotely, for a medical emergency, to provide assistance, go shopping, or be outdoors within 6 miles of your home to train.

The schools remain open. Non-essential businesses will have to close and interregional travel will be banned.

Meanwhile, the nationwide curfew is being eased across the country, ending at 7 p.m. rather than 6 p.m. given the longer days, the prime minister said.

“The time has come to go further, with more demanding constraints where situations are most critical,” said Castex. “These measures, which we are taking today in the hardest hit regions, can, if necessary, be extended to other parts of the territory.”

“The epidemic is accelerating,” he said, adding that the virus resurgence “looks more and more like a third wave” as the “more virulent and potentially serious” variant first discovered in the UK and now responsible for it alarming is unfolding 75 percent of the country’s new positive cases.

France has been under a nationwide curfew since mid-December. Some regions in the north and south-east of the country were closed over the weekend to slow down the virus circulation.

Also on Thursday, France reported 34,998 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours, the second highest daily number since last November after 38,501 on Wednesday. The cumulative number of cases reached 4,181,607 while the death toll rose 268 to 91,679.

Hospital admissions rose 75 to 25,389, while the number of patients in intensive care units was 4,246, an increase from 27 from Wednesday.

“We are facing a third wave. The big difference from the previous ones, however, is that we now have a perspective: vaccination, ”Castex told reporters.

To date, a total of 5,748,698 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and 2,393,568 have received the two shocks.

Castex said the AstraZeneca rollout will resume on Friday and he will receive the vaccine “to show that we can have full confidence”.

“The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is effective as underlined by the European regulator,” he said, referring to a previous statement by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

France was one of many European countries to suspend the launch of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this week, citing concerns about reports of people developing blood clots after the sting.

As the world fights to contain the pandemic, more and more countries are getting vaccinations with the already approved coronavirus vaccines.

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