France enters into extended four-week COVID-19 lockdown

Published on : Monday, April 5, 2021

France has entered into another extended COVID-19 lockdown, effective Sunday, April 4, 2021 in light of the recent surge in coronavirus cases across the country. The lockdown is expected to last for the next four weeks. French President Emmanuel Macron announced about the third nationwide lockdown in Saturday and informed that the decision has been undertaken after nearly 5,273 people affected with COVID-19 were admitted in intensive care, a rise of 19 from the previous day.

The current lockdown aims to curb the COVID-19 crisis and ease pressure on hospitals in hotspots that are highly overwhelmed due to the new surge in cases. According to the latest measures, people are only allowed to travel to a radius of 10km around their houses. Travel between different French regions has also been banned for the duration of the nationwide lockdown, unless people have any essential or work-related reason. The 6AM-7PM curfew has also been extended from the 19 regions including Paris to all of mainland France and the Mediterranean Island of Corsica.

All non-essential businesses have been asked to remain closed for the four weeks. However, the definition of essential businesses have been much more expanded as compared to the first lockdown and now includes bookshops, hairdressers, florists, chocolate shops, music shops and car dealerships, all of which can remain open. Schools will also be shut but university students will still be allowed to attend classes one day a week. Outdoor activities has been limited to places within six miles of people’s home and alcoholic drinks has been banned in parks and other outdoor public spaces. A valid certificate will be required if one needs to travel during curfew hours, or for trips exceeding 10 kilometres.

France’s tally of confirmed cases is currently running at approximately 40,000 new registered cases per day on average, roughly doubled over the course of March. Macron has pledged to arrange more hospital beds to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients in a previous press statement. An order to set up thousands of temporary ICU beds in hospitals reeling under the pressure of COVID-19 was also passed and approved by the parliament, according to reports.

The president also mentioned that he is planning to accelerate the vaccine programme as much as possible and vowed that anyone over 60 will be able to get a jab from April 16 and anyone over 50 from May 15. France has only given out vaccine to 12.96 percent of its population by April 1. According to reports, on Friday, April 2, France reported 46,677 new cases, which were 6.2% more than the previous week, taking the total to 4.74 million cases. It also reported 332 new deaths from COVID-19, taking the toll to 96,280.

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