Nurseries and schools are expected to remain open, but whether high schools and universities would be closed completely or partially was still under debate, officials said.
“The second wave is here, it will be massive,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told a press conference. “We have put in place many measures to slow it down but, like everywhere in Europe, this affects us very largely… We must do everything in our power to avoid being overwhelmed. ”
In a televised speech at 8 p.m., Macron “will announce a new step which was decided on this morning … after yesterday consulting political parties, parliamentary groups, associations of elected officials as well as union representatives,” said Attal.
Prior to Macron’s speech, officials were still discussing possible exceptions to the crackdown. The finance ministry was pushing to try to keep open-air markets open, officials said.
France has seen a rapid increase in infections since August and hit a new peak on Sunday, with 52,000 new cases in 24 hours. Hospitals are already showing signs of stress in large cities, with 70% of ICU beds being occupied by COVID-19 patients in the Paris region.
France switched to a curfew regime two weeks ago, banning travel between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. in high-risk areas. A nationwide curfew is expected to be in effect from Friday morning, but the exact duration remains unclear.
Under the new directives, remote working should be widely encouraged, including in public administration.
In the late afternoon, traffic jams cluttered Paris as residents began to flee the city to second homes before the new measures came into force.
Government ministers are expected to announce more details of the new measures on Thursday.