PARIS – France will impose a nighttime curfew on nearly a third of the country’s 67 million inhabitants to fight the resurgence of a coronavirus, but a new national lockdown is not being considered, the president said on Wednesday Emmanuel Macron.
Macron announced the curfews, which will go into effect on Saturday and run from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning, shortly after the government declared a new state of public health emergency.
The president said curfews, which will remain in effect for four weeks, would be imposed in the Greater Paris region, Marseille, Toulouse, Montpellier and five other cities.
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Anyone who violates a curfew imposed in major cities would be fined 135 euros ($ 158.61), Macron said.
Macron said that, as long as the curfew lasts, people should forget about nightly visits to restaurants or friends’ homes. Essential travel during curfew would still be permitted.
He said there would be no restrictions on public transport and people could still travel between French regions without restrictions.
“We have to react,” Macron said in an interview on national television.
Macron said France had not lost control of the virus, but added: “We are in a worrying situation.”
France reported 22,591 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday, the third time in six days the daily tally has exceeded the 20,000 threshold.
The virus has killed more than 32,000 people in France.
The state of emergency gives officials more power to impose further restrictions.
The French government previously declared a state of public health emergency in March this year, as hospitalizations caused by the pandemic were nearing their peak.
At the time, authorities used their extra powers to order people to stay in their homes except for essential jobs, buying food, or doing an hour of daily exercise.