France goes into third COVID-19 lockdown

French President Emmanuel Macron is seen on a screen as he makes a televised address to the nation to announce enhanced measures to fight the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus as France faces a third wave of the pandemic, in Nice, France, 31 March 2021. [EPA-EFE/SEBASTIEN NOGIER]

The latest restriction measures, which have been in force since 10 March in 19 French departments, will be extended to the whole country on Saturday for a four-week period.

In addition to the 7 pm curfew already in place, non-essential businesses will be closed, and teleworking will be systematised, the French president has announced. Inter-regional travel and travel beyond 10 kilometres from home will also be prohibited.

The head of state also announced that schools will be closed for four days next week before the nationwide two-week holiday. During those four days, pupils will follow lessons from home.

While kindergarten and primary school children will be able to return to school as soon as 26 April, secondary school students will have to wait until 3 May.

In his announcement, Macron also said the vaccination campaign will be accelerated in the coming weeks, adding that all adults shall have the possibility to get vaccinated “by the end of the summer.”

The president also promised a gradual reopening for culture, sports, cafés, and restaurants from mid-May onward.

(Magdalena Pistorius |

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