The French president stopped a third shutdown in January. Now it is coming anyway, with a curfew and closed schools all over the country.
Published: Just updated
The third wave of infections has hit France hard. The hospitals in the Paris area are struggling with capacity. 5072 patients in hospitals now need intensive care and 44 percent of them are under 65 years of age.
On Wednesday night, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the strict measures that 19 ministries have already introduced will be extended to the whole country.
– We must persevere, again, the president says in a televised speech to the people.
The national shutdown starts on Saturday and will last for four weeks.
- The curfew from 19.00 to 06.00 will be extended to the whole country.
- People can go out during the day, but no further than 10 kilometers from their home. If they want to move further, they must have a certificate.
- No one travels between different regions in the country after April 5, unless they are strictly necessary.
- Shops must be closed, except pharmacies, grocery stores and the like.
- Kindergartens, schools and high schools close for three weeks. Students are allowed to go to university one day a week.
- More than six people should not gather outdoors.
- People are advised to keep two meters away. The French have long had to wear face masks at work and in public. The government does not recommend using homemade masks, because they believe they are insufficient in the face of new virus variants. Homemade masks have been banned in schools and businesses since February.
In January, the French president defied professional advice when he did not shut down the country again, despite challenges with the mutated virus. During tonight’s press conference, he defended that election. He pointed out that France has “chosen freedom”, while countries such as Italy have chosen closure.
“We have been given precious days of freedom, weeks of learning for our children, without losing control of the epidemic,” said the French president.
But still they close now:
In recent weeks, however, we are facing a new situation, says Macron.
Promises increased capacity
On Wednesday, Macron also makes big promises to increase the intensive capacity in the country, from the current capacity of just over 7,000 seats.
– I want to thank medical students, retirees, military health personnel – all voluntary health personnel. Everyone has been mobilized and will increasingly be mobilized in the next few days so that we can reach a capacity of 10,000 seats, says the president.
In particular, capacity will be increased in the Paris area, according to Macron.
Aiming for summer
The French president says that all adults over the age of 18 should be able to get vaccinated during the summer.
According to Macron, the authorities will start vaccinating all people between the ages of 60 and 70 from April 16, and then start vaccinating everyone between the ages of 50 and 60 in mid-May.
From mid-June, the health authorities will start vaccinating people under the age of 50, he says.
– A separate vaccination strategy is also planned for the professions that are most exposed – teachers, police and several others, says Macron.
French authorities recommend the AstraZeneca vaccine only to people over 55 years of age.
Updated: March 31, 2021 10:42 PM
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