France extends curfew to 46 million people amid rising COVID-19 cases

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France has put at least 46 million of its residents under curfew in 54 departments and one overseas territory, government officials said.Some 38 departments have been added to the 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew, after nine metropolitan areas were restricted last week in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

” The situation is serious. It is serious in Europe, it is serious in France, ”Prime Minister Jean Castex said at a press conference on Thursday.

“The health situation in our country has continued to deteriorate,” Castex said, explaining that the virus had increased by 40% in one week. Cases are doubling every two weeks, Castex added.

He called on citizens to wear their masks, wash their hands and keep a distance of one meter. He said it was a subject of “collective solidarity” to reduce social contact.

“When we’re unaffected, we think we’re untouchable,” Castex said. “No one can consider themselves immune from this, even young people. ”

France has seen a record number of daily cases in recent weeks, often exceeding 30,000 cases per day. This means, said Minister of Health Olivier Véran, that there are more than 1,000 new cases every hour of the day and night.

The country has now recorded nearly one million cases of COVID-19 and more than 34,000 deaths. Nearly 10,000 people are currently hospitalized in France with COVID-19. The test positivity rate in the country is over 13%.

In Paris hospitals, intensive care patients, 50% of whom are under 65, can die or face difficult complications, officials said.

The French government has also launched a new version of its phone app to help track COVID-19 so that people with the app can be alerted if someone has tested positive.

The country has also increased its contact tracing initiatives, requiring restaurants to keep contact information in case there is a case of COVID-19 while people are dining.

It comes amid a second wave of COVID-19 in several European countries where many have counted a record number of cases.

Germany, which performed well in the first wave compared to its neighbors, recorded more than 10,000 cases in a single day on Thursday. Italy, which had managed to keep the incidence rate low, confirmed 16,000 cases in a single day on Thursday.

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