French government imposes limited lockdown in Paris amid COVID-19 variant surge

WION Web Team
ParisUpdated: Mar 19, 2021, 07:34 AM IST


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French PM Jean Castex said there were increased threats due to a "third wave" with nearly 1,200 people in intensive care in the Paris region.

Amid a surge in coronavirus cases, France on Thursday announced limited lockdown in Paris and several other regions to combat the virus.


"We are adopting a third way, a way that should allow braking (of the epidemic) without locking (people) up," French PM Jean Castex said.

The French prime minister said there were increased threats due to a "third wave" with nearly 1,200 people in intensive care in the Paris region even as the British variant of the virus has been responsible for the most number of cases in recent weeks.

The French capital has been put under a month-long lockdown

"The epidemic is getting worse. Our responsibility now is to not let it escape our control," Castex asserted while announcing the lockdown as he emphasised that it was time to tighten the lockdown.

The lockdown will start from Friday midnight with salon, furniture shops to close however essential services will be allowed to remain open including schools.

Outdoor activity will however be curbed as the French PM warned, "go outdoors, but not to party with friends."

France began its vaccination campaign in December with the country hit hard with the virus, however, there the lack of new supply has hampered the inoculation drive even though Castex said inoculations with the AstraZeneca vaccine after the European Medicines Agency had confirmed it was safe.

"I am confident public trust in the vaccine will be restored," the French PM said. The country's health services have been under renewed pressure with the intensive care unit of private hospitals on the edge in Paris.

The lockdown in Paris is also set to be imposed on the Hauts-de-France region of northeast France including the Alpes-Maritimes on the Mediterranean, as well as Seine-Maritime and the Eure in the north.