France must by all means avoid a new general lockdown in the face of a “very strong” resurgence of Covid-19, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.
Speaking to France Info radio on Monday, Castex urged the public to wear masks as much as possible, minimize contact and take other basic health measures to avoid infections.
“I’m not asking for anything revolutionary,” Castex said. It is essential that businesses keep working and children keep going to school, he said.
France has focused on local measures to tackle a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks after a two-month national lockdown in the spring that devastated the economy. With new infections reaching new heights, there is little evidence that the piecemeal approach works.
Toulouse and Montpellier joined other French cities this weekend that were placed on high alert as the number of coronavirus cases in the country increased by nearly 27,000 on Saturday. Bars, casinos and exhibitions in cities will close while restaurants, cinemas and museums will have to comply with stricter health rules from Monday.
New phone app
The government plans to release a new “stop-covid” mobile phone app on October 22 to help contain the virus, Castex said. The government is also considering additional unspecified measures if the situation does not improve in the next 15 days, he said.
In addition, President Emmanuel Macron will not isolate himself after coming into contact with the President of French Polynesia Édouard Fritch, who tested positive for the coronavirus, because Macron meticulously followed the health protocols, with masks and social distancing, according to the Elysee.
– With the help of Angeline Benoit and Ania Nussbaum
(Updates with new towns placed on high alert)