Paris to lock down as France fears ‘third wave’
These measures will not be as strict as the previous lockdown, Prime Minister Jean Castex said, with people allowed to exercise outdoors.
France has recorded more than 35,000 new infections within the past 24 hours.
Mr Castex said a “third wave” of infections in the country was looking increasingly likely.
The situation in Paris is particularly worrying with 1,200 people in intensive care there, more than at the peak of the second wave in November, Health Minister Olivier Véran said.
Under the new measures, non-essential businesses will be forced to close, but schools will remain open, along with hairdressers if they follow a “particular sanitary protocol”. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal stressed there would be differences with the two earlier lockdowns and said further details would be given of which business could stay open or would have to shut.
People will be allowed to exercise outdoors within 10km (6 miles) of their home and are not allowed to travel to other parts of the country unless they have a valid reason. Those in the affected areas will have to fill out a form to explain why they have left their homes.
As well as the greater Paris region, the northern Hauts-de-France, Seine-Maritime and Eure areas will go under lockdown as well as the Alpes-Maritimes on the French Riviera.
France’s nationwide curfew will remain in place. However, it will begin an hour later at 19:00 (18:00 GMT), taking into account the longer hours of daylight.
France had suspended the jab after a number of people in Europe reported blood clots developing after the vaccine was administered. A survey conducted just as the suspension was announced found that only 20% of the French have confidence in AstraZeneca.