France reflects on new Paris curfew as lockout rebels frustrate government

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FILE PHOTO: A view shows the deserted island of Saint Louis as the national lockdown begins as part of COVID-19 measures to combat a second wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Paris, France, on October 30, 2020. REUTERS / Christian Hartmann

World news

Sudip Kar-Gupta

Elizabeth pineau



PARIS (Reuters) – France could reimpose a nighttime curfew on Paris and possibly the surrounding region amid government frustration that too many people are ignoring lockdown rules as COVID-19 infections mount sharply.

France significantly slowed the spread of the coronavirus in the spring with one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe. But ten months after the start of the epidemic and with the onset of winter, many are reluctant to endure another period of confinement.

“It’s unbearable for those who respect the rules to see other French people flout them,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told BFM TV. “We must take all the necessary measures to fight the epidemic.”

A final decision on a curfew had not been taken, Prime Minister Jean Castex’s office said. It will be discussed at a meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and senior cabinet ministers on Wednesday, a government source said.

COVID-19’s new lockdowns and brakes have sparked resistance across Europe, even as countries like France and Spain face record daily infections and hospitals fold under pressure.

“Police have observed underground parties, raves, private dinners, even though the virus is spreading rapidly,” a government source said.

In Paris, a person was infected every 30 seconds, while a Parisian is hospitalized with the disease every 15 minutes, according to the Minister of Health Olivier Veran.

Health authorities reported 52,518 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday. Four critically ill COVID patients will be airlifted to Vannes, in western France, from Corsica to ease pressure on intensive care units on the Mediterranean island.

HOME PARTIES

France imposed a nighttime curfew on two-thirds of its 67 million inhabitants in the second half of October, but this was lifted when Macron ordered a second lockdown from October 30.

This has forced the closure of all non-essential businesses like bars and restaurants, banned private gatherings, and saw the return of affidavits needed to leave home. Schools remain open.

Data from apps tracking trips to Paris suggests that people movements and traffic jams fell sharply after France returned to lockdown, but not as low as during the spring imprisonment.

Some Parisians say neighbors still throw illicit parties, while some parents say friends throw children’s games.

“People always party in my building,” said nurse Emmanuel Davy, his hand in a cast after knocking on the door of a neighbor breaking the lockdown rules.

“They think they are young and that nothing will happen to them. No one thinks about others. ”

An Uber driver from Team Dawn said he always picks up people after a night out.

“Obviously young people are celebrating,” he says.

© 2020 Reuters. All rights reserved.

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