French President Emmanuel Macron Announces New Lockdown As COVID-19 Deaths Surpasses 35,000
Emmanuel Macron, President of France has on Wednesday night announced a new lockdown that will take effect from Friday this week as COVID-19 cases in the country continue to increase beyond control.
He however stated during his nationwide address that schools and creches will remain open, adding that the lockdown will run until December 1.
While remote working should be carried out where possible, Macron said citizens will be able to leave their homes for essential work purposes, medical appointments, to help vulnerable individuals and to do grocery shopping.
People in France will be required to fill out a form to leave their homes, as was the case in the country’s first lockdown.
The President said France’s international borders will remain mostly closed and mandatory rapid testing would be introduced for anyone coming entering the country.
He added that the new measures will be reassessed every 15 days to see if they are working.
Macron said he hoped that French families could celebrate Christmas and New Year together after the national lockdown was over.
Over the past few weeks, France has been reporting tens of thousands of new infections per day and is now recording more than 380 new cases each week per 100,000 people.
Health officials recorded 523 virus-related deaths in 24 hours on Tuesday, the highest daily tally since April, bringing the country’s overall death toll to 35,541, the third-highest toll in Europe after Britain and Italy.
Macron’s Wednesday night address comes just hours after Germany announced a limited lockdown to begin on November 2, which will see restaurants, bars and theatres closed.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the measures were an attempt to avoid “an acute national health emergency”.
Germany saw 15,000 new cases on Wednesday, a record for the nation, which had fared better than its neighbors over the summer and avoided a total lockdown on the model of the UK and France.
Many French doctors had been calling for a new nationwide lockdown, noting that 58 percent of the country’s intensive care units are now occupied by COVID-19 patients and medical staff are under increasing strain.