France's Macron: Curfews in major cities from Saturday for four weeks

France's Macron: Curfews in major cities from Saturday for four weeks”

With France witnessing second wave of covid-19 infection, President Emmanuel Macron announced a curfew in a number of cities including Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Toulouse.

"We have to react", Mr Macron said. "We need to put a brake on the spread of the virus", Macron said, adding the measure would stop people visiting restaurants and private homes in the late evening and night.

He warned that those caught ignoring the curfew would face a €135 ($158) fine, which could balloon to as much as €7,500 ($8,771) - and lead to a six-month prison sentence - for third-time violations.

He said the government would do everything it could to ensure that restaurants and theaters - already hurting - would survive, including subsidizing workers who see their hours reduced. "We won't be partying with friends because we know that that's where the infection risk is greatest".

Health minister Olivier Veran said that France now has some 5,800 beds on intensive care wards.

The announcement comes as France has declared a public health emergency which had expired on July 10.

Earlier Wednesday, the French government re-imposed a national state of health emergency to allow "measures proportional to the health risks to be taken".

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The Health Ministry reported 22,500 cases in 24 hours and 6,000 new hospitalizations in the previous seven days - 1,000 of those in intensive care units.

Macron said new daily coronavirus cases must be brought down to "3,000 or 5,000", from current levels, which have reached up to nearly 27,000.

But he also ruled out several more strict measures, at least for the moment.

He also ruled out introducing any kind of travel ban within France or restrictions on moving between regions.

The curfew begins on Saturday, and anyone found breaking it - leaving home during curfew for "unnecessary reasons", such as going to a bar or restaurant - will be penalised.

For people working, "a proof of the company or a business card" will be necessary in addition to the authorisation certificate, he added.

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