Parisian bars to close for two weeks as city moves to maximum Covid France alert

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Paris must be put on maximum Covid-19 alert, which means bars will be forced to close for two weeks from Tuesday and restaurants will have to put in place new health protocols to stay open, the prime minister ordered.

Jean Castex’s office said there had been no improvement in the Paris region since the French capital passed the government’s three criteria to be placed on the highest alert level in the middle of last week.

The move comes as Europe’s second wave gathers momentum, with Irish health officials poised to recommend a return to full lockdown and leaked documents showing plans for a stricter traffic light system in England.

A statement from the Castex office said working from home should be a priority “now more than ever” in the Paris area and university lecture halls should not be more than half full.

The tightened restrictions will take effect from Tuesday.

“These measures, essential in the fight to curb the spread of the virus, will apply to Paris and the three departments immediately surrounding it, for a period of two weeks,” the statement said.

For a city to be put on high alert, the incidence rate must exceed 100 infections per 100,000 among the elderly and 250 per 100,000 among the general public, while at least 30% of intensive care beds are reserved for patients. coronavirus.

A week ago, restaurants and bars were closed for two weeks in Marseille, the southern city at the epicenter of the second wave, sparking protests and an unsuccessful legal challenge.

Restaurants in Marseille will be able to reopen early under the same new protocols.

France reported 12,565 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, while 893 Covid-19 patients were admitted to intensive care in the past week.

Irish health chiefs, meanwhile, reportedly recommended to the government on Sunday that the country begin a second nationwide lockdown for four weeks in a surprise move the cabinet will discuss on Monday, two government sources said.

The Irish National Public Health Emergency Team has recommended moving to the highest level of Covid-19 restrictions, level 5, from current level 2 checks in 24 of Ireland’s 26 counties and from level 3 measures more stringent in Dublin and Donegal.

The government has adopted the advice of its health chiefs almost entirely throughout the pandemic, but one of the sources said a return to lockdown would have serious economic and societal impact.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and the leaders of his two coalition partners will meet with the country’s chief medical officer on Monday before a cabinet meeting to discuss the recommendations.

Below level 5, people are encouraged to stay in their homes, except for exercise within a 5 km radius, only essential retailers are allowed to remain open. Unlike the first lockdown, schools and nurseries would not have to close.

A spokesperson for the health department was not immediately available to comment on the advice.

In England, leaked documents seen by The Guardian show plans for a new three-tier lockdown system, paving the way for potential tougher restrictions, including closing pubs and banning all social contact outside of groups of households.

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