Thursday, October 29, 2020

France to go back into nationwide lockdown as COVID-19 second wave hits hard - Global Times

France will go into national lockdown starting from Friday to stem the second wave of the coronavirus epidemic, President Emmanuel Macron announced on Wednesday evening.

"The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated," said Macron in a televised address to the nation. "Like all our neighbors, we are at the same point, overwhelmed by a second wave which will undoubtedly be harder and more deadly than the first."

To contain the spread of the virus, the president ordered the nation to go back into a national lockdown, like in mid-March when COVID-19 patients in the first wave of the epidemic overwhelmed hospitals.

For the new lockdown, the only authorized out-of-home trips will be "to go to work, to a medical appointment, to provide assistance, to go shopping or to take the air," said Macron.

The restrictive measures would affect universities, libraries, bars, cafes, restaurants, gyms, etc. Public gatherings are banned and cultural ceremonies and conferences are suspended, according to the president.

But unlike the first lockdown, nurseries, primary schools and middle schools will remain open, said the president, arguing that "our children would not be lastingly deprived of education, of contact with the school system."

And public services, factories, farms and constructions will continue their activities "in strict compliance with health protocols," said the president. Visits to nursing homes will also be allowed.

Detailed measures of the new lockdown will be announced by the government on Thursday.

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