France to extend nighttime curfews to more regions: PM

24 Octobre, 2020, 18:47 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • The outside of the headquarters of l'Assistance publique- Hôpitaux de Paris in Paris. Second wave ‘worse than first’ as cases hit 41,000 in France

French Prime Minister Jean Castex made the announcement describing the situation as "serious" while reiterating that the second wave was upon the country.

"In France, like everywhere in Europe, the second wave is here", Castex said at a news conference, adding that "no one is spared". Figures showed France nearing 1 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, with 999,043 as of Thursday evening.

A total of 42,032 cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday, 410 more than a day earlier, a new record since widespread testing began, the public health agency said.

The French government has expanded an overnight curfew it imposed in eight urban areas of France last week to encompass 38 more regions and Polynesia. The number of cases increased by 40 percent over the past week, while the number of infections has been doubling every 15 days.

After Europe appeared to have gained a measure of control over the epidemic following the dramatic lockdowns of March and April, a surge in cases over recent weeks has put the continent back at the heart of the crisis.

The death toll from the disease has increased by 165 since the last update, taking the total to 34,210, according to the Sante Publique.

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"We are already swamped", said Bruno Megarbane, head of intensive care at the Lariboisiere hospital in Paris.

Mr Castex refused to be drawn on whether another nationwide lockdown was on the cards, but he did say that "even harsher measures" could be required if the situation did not improve, and that the month of November was likely to be "tough".

France has been using a targeted approach to curb the virus, but some of the regions to go under a curfew have yet to reach alert-level infection rates.

The government also unveiled a new COVID-tracing app to replace a first app which proved a flop that was downloaded by a mere 2.6 million people.

After a first wave in the spring which left over 30,000 dead, France, like several European countries, is grappling with a second bout of coronavirus infections.

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