PARIS – France will impose a nighttime curfew on one-third of the country’s nearly one million people to deal with the resurgent coronavirus, but a new national lockdown has not been envisaged, President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday.
Macron announced a curfew, which will take effect from Saturday and run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. the next day, after the government declared a new public health state of emergency.
The president said the curfew would be in force for four weeks, with imposition in the larger Paris area, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier and five other cities.
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Anyone violating the curfew imposed in major cities will be fined 135 euros (15 158.61), Macron said.
“When the curfew is in place, people should forget to visit restaurants or friends’ homes at night,” Macron said. Required trips during the curfew will still be allowed.
He said there would be no restrictions on public transport and people would still be able to travel between French territories without any restrictions.
“We have to respond,” Macron said in an interview on national television.
Maron Crowe said France had not lost control of the virus, but added: “We are in a worrying situation.”
In France, 22,591 new coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, the third time in six days that the daily number has crossed the 20,000 threshold.
The virus has killed more than 32,000 people in France.
Authorities are given more power to impose new sanctions in case of an emergency.
The French government had earlier declared a state of public health emergency in March this year, when hospital admissions due to the epidemic were nearing their peak.
At that time, the authorities use their extra powers to order people to stay home to buy home-cooked food or take an hour of daily exercise, except for the necessary work.