French President Emmanuel Macron announced a third lockdown from 3 April as the country grapples with a spike in coronavirus infections.
“We will lose control if we do not move now,” said Macron, in a televised address to the nation.
The restrictions, although less strict than the first lockdown last year, will see nurseries and primary schools close for at least three weeks from 6 April and travel within the country banned for a month from 5 April. People are being asked to work from home and will not be allowed to travel more than 10km from their homes.
According to the latest government figures, France reported 59,038 new Covid-19 cases on 31 March. The more contagious UK variant, discovered in Kent in September last year, is behind the surge in cases.
Pupils will have one week of remote learning and the following two will be Spring break, Macron announced.
The 7pm to 6am curfew will continue and mandates that everyone should be at home. Under the rule, people can leave for reasons including to travel for work, to go to a medical or legal appointment and to care for a vulnerable family member. They must, however, have a form certifying the reason for which they’re outside.
Some of the rules, many of which were already in place in 20 départements with higher coronavirus rates, will be rolled out across the rest of the country from Saturday 3 April. Non-essential shops across the country will close.
Macron also announced dates for the next stages of the vaccine calendar, which would see under 60s vaccinated by mid-April and under 50s by mid-June.
Europe’s vaccine roll-out has been slower, mainly due to supply shortages. The Ministry of Health’s dashboard showed that eight million people in the country have received the first dose of the vaccine and 2.7 million are fully vaccinated.
Separately, the Financial Times reported that Israel and Iceland may be among holiday destinations for British citizens under the anticipated travel review being carried out by the government.
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