France is preparing new measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 | France

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France is preparing to announce tougher measures to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus as cases have exploded since a national lockdown ended, the AFP news agency reported.Ministers will hold two meetings on Wednesday to analyze the latest wave, which saw more than 10,000 cases and 78 deaths on Tuesday.

Cabinet members are expected to outline new restrictions in several coronavirus hotspots, including the larger Paris region Ile-de-France where the incidence rate of the infection has risen to 204 per 100,000 inhabitants.

They will also discuss the possibility of speeding up coronavirus test results, which can currently take up to a week to obtain.

Sources told AFP that during a meeting with the Ile-de-France health authority, municipal authorities and local police on Monday raised the possibility of banning the sale of alcohol in the evening in the capital, from 8 pm every day.

Paris could also implement a limit of 10 people for gatherings, a lowering of the ceiling for participation in sporting and cultural events from 5,000 to 1,000 and a temporary ban on the rental of party rooms, including for weddings.

France has already made it compulsory to wear masks in public places – both inside the country and outside in hard-hit areas like Paris.

But there are concerns about people flouting advice on keeping safe social distancing, especially among young people. They gathered in large groups, often without masks, in bars and cafes in the capital and elsewhere.

Cities like Lyon, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lille and Marseille have already taken additional measures, such as limiting visits to retirement homes for the elderly, more vulnerable to the virus, capping public gatherings and closing or limiting hours of bar.

With over 460,000 confirmed cases and over 31,400 deaths to date, concern is growing over the ability of hospitals to handle a new wave of infection, as admissions have started to rise again after being contained during the French lockdown from March to May.

The developments in France follow a new round of restrictive measures aimed at curbing a so-called second wave in Britain, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday.



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