“We have to take action. We have to curb the spread of the virus, “said President Emmanuel Macron in a television appearance and announced the curfew from 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., which will remain in effect for at least four weeks, except for material reasons.
“We will have to deal with this virus at least until the summer of 2021,” said Macron, saying that “all scientists” agreed on this point.
Other major French cities such as Lyon, the Mediterranean port of Marseille and the south-west of Toulouse will also impose curfews, affecting around 20 million people out of a total population of around 67 million.
According to Macron, the daily coronavirus cases must be reduced from the current level of almost 27,000 to “3,000 or 5,000”.
“We won’t be leaving the restaurant after 9pm,” said Macron. “We won’t celebrate with friends because we know that the risk of contamination is greatest there.”
Just minutes before Macron’s announcement, his government had announced it would extend the state of health and give officials more powers to take new measures to contain the spread of the pandemic.
He urged people to limit gatherings in their homes to six people and to wear protective masks on such occasions.
Anyone who goes outside during the curfew without special permission will be fined 135 euros ($ 159) and more than ten times that amount for repeat offenders, Macron said.
According to Macron, 32% of the 5,000 intensive care units in France were currently occupied by coronavirus patients, a proportion that had to be reduced to “10 to 15% at most”.
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