France examines options for tighter COVID-19 restrictions: sources

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FILE PHOTO: A man sits on a bench in the empty plaza of Place Masséna during a new nighttime curfew imposed in an effort to fight the second wave of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Nice, France October 24, 2020. REUTERS / Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – French authorities are studying a range of options for further tightening restrictions in an attempt to contain the spread of the COVID-19 infection, according to three sources close to the government’s thinking.

France imposed a curfew two weeks ago that runs from 9:00 p.m. (7:00 p.m. GMT) to 6:00 a.m. daily, giving it some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, but since then new cases have been confirmed and hospitalizations have continued to increase.

Two industry sources in contact with the government said measures considered by officials included postponing the start of the curfew to earlier in the evening, confining people to their homes on weekends except for essential travel; and the closure of non-essential stores.

According to the scenario that officials are examining, these measures would apply to the Paris region, and two other cities severely affected by the virus, Marseille and Lyon, according to the two sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A third source, close to the government, said the measures were part of a range of options being considered and which will be presented to President Emmanuel Macron this week. But the government source said no final decision has been made and other options may also be chosen.

Reporting by Elizabeth Pineau; Writing by Christian Lowe; Edited by Geert De Clercq

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