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France faces 3rd lockdown if curfew not enough

Virus Outbreak Netherlands
Posted at 10:25 AM, Jan 24, 2021

PARIS, France — France's government may impose a third lockdown in the coming days if an existing 12-hour-a-day curfew doesn't significantly slow virus infections.

Exactly a year after France announced Europe's first confirmed case of the coronavirus, Health Minister Olivier Veran said in an interview published Sunday in the Le Parisien newspaper that if infections don't drop, and "if the variants start to spread everywhere, we will take extra measures. And that's called confinement, we will close down."

An official in French President Emmanuel Macron's office said Sunday that "everything is on the table" but no firm decisions will be made until the effect of the nationwide 6 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew is clear in the coming week.

In addition to the curfew, French restaurants, tourist sites, and many other public places have been closed since October. But virus infections, hospitalizations, and deaths have started rising again this month.

France, which has lost at least 72,877 lives to the pandemic, has vaccinated more than 1 million people amid bureaucratic and logistical delays.

France on Sunday started requiring a negative COVID-19 test from travelers arriving by air or boat from other European Union countries.

Such tests are already required for non-EU visitors, who also must go into 7-day quarantine upon arrival.