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President Macron addressing France on Wednesday/Photo: EMT/Twitter

Coronavirus: France announces second lockdown

Just as Germany introduced new lockdown measures, France followed suit on Wednesday. Against the background of the country recording more than 36,000 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, President Emmanuel Macron announced the new restrictions in a speech from the Elysee palace after an emergency meeting of the government.

France will enter a new coronavirus lockdown on Friday until at least 1 December, Macron said, adding that the new measures were necessary to curb a second wave of the virus that has been deadlier than expected and which has threatened to overwhelm French hospitals.

In an address to the nation Wednesday night, Macron noted that, “the virus is spreading across France at a speed that even the most pessimistic did not predict.”

The new measures mean people have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise. People will need to show documentation when leaving the house.

Cafes, restaurants and shops will shut down unless they are deemed to be selling essential goods, such as supermarkets and pharmacies. However, Essential businesses, such as supermarkets and food stores, will remain open.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: The New Lockdown Measures in Germany

People will still be allowed to go to work if their employer deems it impossible for them to do the job from home.

Students at universities and higher education will mostly be taught online. Schools will however remain open.

Even though non-essential travels are strongly advised against, EU borders will remain open.

The rules apply to all of France, but there will be an exception for the upcoming All Saint’s holiday weekend. 

The new lockdown measures are slightly more relaxed than the country’s first in spring, when people were confined to their homes for eight weeks under strict conditions and schools were closed.

France has the highest number of infections in Europe, with more than 36,000 new infections detected in the past 24 hours.

“If in two weeks, we have the situation under better control, we will be able to re-evaluate things and hopefully open some businesses, in particular for the Christmas holiday,” he said.

“I hope we’ll be able to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with family,” he said.

Adira Kallo