France Swaps Lockdown For Curfew as Virus Battle Goes On

France eased some of its key lockdown measures, while extending other curbs and introducing a new curfew, as the nation continued its fight to get a grip on the coronavirus.

Theaters, museums and cinemas, as well as sports facilities, will remain shut instead of reopening as planned next week, Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday. A nighttime curfew will take effect on Dec. 15, he said, although an exception will be made for Christmas Eve. Against that, travel across France will now be permitted.

“We’re not out of the second wave yet,” Castex said at a press conference, ruling out New Year’s celebrations, which he described as a party that “concentrates all the ingredients of an epidemic rebound.”

France is set to miss one of Emmanuel Macron’s conditions for lifting the lockdown in mid-December, with cases on Thursday almost triple the target for an average 5,000 new infections per day. Like many nations across Europe, France is battling to curb the virus without fatally damaging the economy. French schools and construction sites stayed open during the second lockdown and non-essential retailers were allowed to reopen late last month.

The government is maintaining its target for reopening bars and restaurants on Jan. 20, Castex said.

While the rate of infections hasn’t decreased as much as anticipated, it has dropped from a peak of more than 50,000 daily cases in early November. The number of virus patients in intensive care fell below 3,000 on Thursday, in line with Macron’s second target for reopening. Health authorities registered 2,959 ICU patients, down by more than 400 from a week earlier.




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