France goes into lockdown again

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So far, only some regions in France are in lockdown. But that’s no longer enough. In a TV address, President Macron announces that the restrictions will be extended to the entire country and last for at least four weeks.

France imposes tough restrictions nationwide for four weeks in the fight against Corona and temporarily closes schools as well. President Emmanuel Macron made the announcement in a televised address. Macron spoke of a “race against time.” From Easter Saturday, non-essential stores must remain closed throughout the country. There will also be strict restrictions on movement.

For the first time in the current school year, schools will also remain closed. The president had repeatedly stressed that he wanted to prevent this as long as possible. Throughout the country, schools are now to be closed uniformly for three weeks after the Easter weekend. First, there will be a week of distance learning, followed by two weeks of spring break for everyone.

Movement restrictions will also apply across the country from the weekend onwards – for example, people will not be allowed to move more than ten kilometers from their homes for walks or sports. These regulations were already in place in large parts of the country. Compared to the restrictions last spring or fall, they are much less strict. At that time, there was a movement radius of only one kilometer. The evening curfew from 7 p.m. is also to continue. After that, people are only allowed out the door with a valid reason – shopping or going for a walk are not among them.

“We have persevered, we have learned”.
Macron said that at each stage of the pandemic, it could be said that mistakes had been made. “All of that is true. But I know one thing: We persevered, we learned, and we improved every time.” Companies are now expected to rely even more on home offices in the future. Macron also offered hope for tentative openings. Outdoor dining areas and some cultural venues are to gradually reopen in mid-May. In addition, intensive care beds in hospitals are to be increased from 7,000 to 10,000.

In France, there had already been speculation for some time that Macron would once again address his countrymen because of the tense situation. Most recently, Prime Minister Jean Castex had announced further restrictions on several occasions. Schools had previously only been closed in France during the first severe lockdown last spring.

The Corona situation in the country had worsened significantly in recent weeks. Hospitals in the Paris area in particular are sounding the alarm on a massive scale because intensive care units are overcrowded. The number of new Corona infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a week was recently a good 375 nationwide. Last week, Germany had classified France as a high-incidence area and tightened the entry regulations. In the country with approximately 67 million inhabitants died so far over 95,000 ill humans.

France has had two lockdowns, or confinements, so far – one last spring and one in the fall. After the confinement at the end of last year, theaters, museums, restaurants and bars remained closed. In some cases, there were also so-called weekend lockdowns in particularly affected regions. Anyone who now wants to move to a region and isolate themselves there can do so over the Easter weekend, Macron said.

sources: hp and news agencies/picture: unsplash.com, https://www.theparisphotographer.com/ (The Paris Photographer)

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