Coronavirus: France enters second national lockout

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France will be plunged into a second lockdown on Friday (Photo: Getty)

France will return to a national lockdown on Friday, President Emmanuel Macron announced.

According to the rules, schools will remain open but non-essential businesses will have to close, including bars and restaurants.

Travel between regions will be prohibited and people will have to fill out a form to justify leaving their home.

Addressing the nation on Wednesday, Mr Macron said France must now “curb brutality” to avoid being “overwhelmed by the accelerating epidemic”.

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“As in spring, you can leave your home only to work, for a medical appointment, to provide assistance to a relative, to buy essentials or to get some fresh air near your home,” said the president.

Daily coronavirus deaths in France are at the highest level since April.

The country reports more than 350 new cases per 100,000 people every week, and nearly 18% of its tests now come back positive.

Customers in a cafe watch French President Emmanuel Macron’s televised statement (Photo: EPA)

Bartender closes establishment at 9 p.m. amid city-wide nighttime curfew

Non-essential businesses in France will have to shut down when France enters the second lockdown (Photo: Getty)

Mr Macron said the virus was circulating “at a speed that even the most pessimistic forecasts had not anticipated”.

He acknowledged that the measures would hit the economy hard, but said the country risked being “overwhelmed by a second wave which will undoubtedly be more difficult than the first”.

He said: “If we don’t put a brutal stop to contamination today, our hospitals will be quickly overwhelmed.

“We will never let hundreds of thousands of our citizens die. These are not our values. It is not in our best interests either.

A woman wearing a protective mask walks her dog on the Place de l'Esplanade du Trocadéro in front of the Eiffel Tower

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes for limited reasons (Photo: Getty)

People watch French President Emmanuel Macron on a TV screen in a restaurant in Paris

The restrictions take effect on Friday (Photo: Reuters)

The new measures largely echo the restrictions imposed in March. Citizens will be given one hour to exercise and will only be allowed to travel for work if their employer deems it impossible for them to work from home.

However, schools will remain open and visits to retirement homes and retirement homes will be permitted.

The lockdown will last until December 1 and will be reviewed every two weeks from there. The president said he remained “hopeful that families can be reunited for Christmas”.

“Every fortnight, we will take stock of the evolution of the epidemic,” said Mr. Macron.

Brandenburg Gate

France followed in Germany’s footsteps by reimposing national restrictions (Photo: Getty)

“We will decide, if necessary, on additional measures and then we will assess whether we can alleviate certain constraints.

“If within two weeks we get the situation under control, then we can reassess things and hope to open some businesses, especially in this very important time before the Christmas holidays.

About two-thirds of France, including Paris, has already been subject to a nighttime curfew, but officials say it was not enough to stop the virus.

The announcement comes after Germany announced a four-week shutdown to fight the second wave of coronavirus.

Restaurants, bars, cinemas, theaters and other leisure facilities have been closed, but schools and shops will remain open.

Pressure is mounting on Boris Johnson to install a second lockdown as fears grow that the second wave will kill more people than the first.

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