France announces curfew for Paris, eight other cities

Updated / Wednesday, 14 Oct 2020 20:06

Firefighters wearing protective suits take samples to carry out tests at a drive-through Covid-19 screening centre in Montpellier

The French President has ordered a night-time curfew for Paris and eight other cities to contain the rising spread of Covid-19 in the country, adding that anyone violating the measure would be fined €135.

In an interview on national television, Emmanuel Macron said residents of the greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier, Grenoble, Lille, Lyon and Saint Etienne would not be allowed to be outdoors between 9pm and 6am from Saturday, for a duration of at least four weeks.

He said that while the curfew lasts, people would have to forget about night-time visits to restaurants or to friends' houses, but essential trips would still be allowed.

Mr Macron said there would be no restrictions on public transport,and people would still be able to travel between French regions without restrictions.

"We have to act. We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus," the president said.

France has not lost control of the virus, Mr Macron added, but said: "We are in a worrying situation."

The nightly curfew will be imposed on almost on third of the country's 67 million people 

The move was announced shortly after the French government's declaration of a public health state of emergency, giving officials greater powers to impose new measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

In a statement, the government said the epidemic was a public health disaster which endangered the health of the population and justified the adoption of strict measures.

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France reported 22,591 new confirmed cases today, the daily tally going beyond the 20,000 threshold for the third time in six days, while hospitalisations and deaths linked to the disease continue to increase.

The cumulative number of confirmed cases rose to 779,063. The virus has claimed more than 32,000 lives in France.

The French government previously declared a public health state of emergency in March, when hospitalisations caused by the pandemic were near their peak.

At the time, the authorities used their extra powers to order people to stay at home except for essential work, buying food or taking one hour of daily exercise.