Health

France enters 3rd lockdown to curb coronavirus

Paris, Apr 4 (efe-epa).- France has entered its third lockdown in a year to tackle the coronavirus, with the country reporting an average daily 37,000 cases and intensive care unit patient numbers exceeding the second wave’s record of 5,200.

The one-month confinement, which came into force Saturday night, is less strict than those imposed in March and November, but still sees non-essential stores closed and in-person classes suspended.

“Closing schools and 150,000 shops is essential to curb the circulation of the virus, but these measures will have an impact on the economy. We are going to review our growth from 6 to 5 percent,” economy minister Bruno Le Maire told the Le Journal du Dimanche weekly magazine.

The authorities pledged support as business owners raise concerns over the effects of the lockdowns.

 “We will allow them to receive a monthly aid of up to 200,000 euros from the Solidarity Fund. We will also compensate for part of their unsold reservations. And the rents of the companies that are high will be assumed up to a limit of 10 million euros,” he added.

Le Maire said he hoped April’s aid package stands at 11 billion euros would allow the country to recover faster and stronger after the measures are lifted. The French economy contracted by 8.2 percent in 2020.

A survey published on Sunday by Le Journal du Dimanche revealed that 51 percent of French people say they support the aid to companies.

The suspension of in-person classes – for three weeks for nurseries and elementary and four in the case of middle and high schools as of Tuesday – has dealt a new blow to parents who will have to reconcile their work and family life.

“I will have to take care of my daughter on my own and continue working,” Océane, a 29-year-old stylist, single mother of a three-year-old girl, told Efe.

The school closure was not necessary “because in any case, the children are going to see each other in the park,” she added. EFE-EPA

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