Paris, Oct 14 (efe-epa).- The French government has announced a state of emergency and curfew for nine cities including the capital Paris as the country grapples with a major resurgence of coronavirus infections.
The curfew, which will be from 9pm until 6am, will take effect from Saturday 17 October and will last an initial period of four weeks.
In a televised interview on Wednesday night, president Emmanuel Macron said the restrictions would likely be extended to six weeks unless the virological situation improves.
“We have not lost control, but we are in a worrying situation,” Macron said.
“The disease is coming back. We are in a second wave” that has forced authorities to act, he added.
France has been reporting 20,000 new cases on average per day, and around 200 people are being admitted to intensive care units each day.
“This means that our ICUs are under pressure which is not sustainable,” the president said, noting that officials were aiming to bring the average daily caseload down to between 3,000 and 5,000.
The emergency declaration by the government allows for tougher restrictions such as a curfew to be imposed, although Macron said another general lockdown like the ones seen in spring at the start of the pandemic at this stage would be “disproportionate”.
But he insisted on the urgent need to clamp down on gatherings in private such as parties, which he called “vectors of acceleration”.
The curfew will affect Paris, where Macron said the virus was spreading “very actively”, as well as Marseilles-Aix en Provence, Lyon, Lille, Grenoble, Montpellier, Toulouse, Rouen and Saint Etienne.