France Introduces Hard Lockdown in 16 Departments, Including Paris

The French government has announced a tough lockdown in 16 departments with an alarming epidemic situation.

As reported by BFMTV, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced this at a briefing.

These are the regions of Ile-de-France and Haut-de-France, and three more departments — Alpes-Maritimes, Seine-Maritime, and Ayr. In total, the restrictions will affect 21 million people — almost a third of the population of France.

The prime minister noted that the numbers clearly indicate the beginning of the third wave of the epidemic, and the weekend quarantine, which has been in effect in certain departments for several weeks, had a real impact but was insufficient.

The new restrictions will take effect from the end of Friday, March 19, and will last for at least 4 weeks.

Almost all non-essential stores will have to close — except bookstores and music stores. Schools, at the same time, will remain open.

People will not be allowed to go for walks or sports farther than 10 kilometers from their place of residence, and they will need to bring a form with them indicating the reason for leaving the house — but without restrictions on the duration of the walk.

They also prohibit movement between regions, except in respectful work or family circumstances.

Companies are asking to transfer their employees to telecommuting as much as possible, in the best case — for four out of five working days.

The prime minister also announced that from next Saturday the curfew will be reduced throughout the country — it will be in effect not from 18, but from 19 hours.

Over the past day, almost 35,000 new infections were discovered in France — 34,998, 273 patients with coronavirus died.

There are 25,389 patients in hospitals, an increase of 1,661 since the previous day.

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