France should prepare for “difficult decisions” on the new COVID borders: minister

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FILE PHOTO: Customers are seen on the terrace of a restaurant before the nighttime curfew due to restrictions against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Nice, France, October 23, 2020. REUTERS / Eric Gaillard

PARIS (Reuters) – France is expected to prepare for “tough decisions” on new measures to tackle the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday ahead of a cabinet meeting to discuss of the pandemic.

French authorities are studying options for even stricter measures to fight COVID-19, which has continued to spread despite some of the strictest restrictions in Europe, according to three sources close to the government’s thinking.

“We must expect difficult decisions,” Darmanin told France Inter radio.

France has already set a curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. in major cities, including Paris. Two industry sources in contact with the government said officials are now considering taking action, including starting the curfew earlier, confining people to their homes on weekends except for essential travel, and closing non-essential stores.

France reported 26,771 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours on Monday, while the death toll increased by 257, bringing the cumulative total since the start of the epidemic to 35,018 deaths. The number of people in intensive care units increased from 186 to 2,770.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Edited by Andrew Heavens

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