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Covid-19: France announces strict new nationwide 6pm curfew
14 January 2021, 21:15
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced a strict new 6pm curfew that will come into effect across the country from Saturday.
The measure has been introduced to help fight the spread of Covid-19 and will last for at least 15 days, Mr Castex said.
It represents a tightening up of a curfew already in place since December which restricted people's movements between 8pm and 6am.
The prime minister also announced fresh controls on individuals arriving in France from countries outside the European Union.
Mr Castex described France's current wave of coronavirus cases as "worrying", adding that infections were still at a "high plateau".
From Monday, visitors from outside the EU must produce a negative PCR test within 72 hours before their journey, quarantine for seven days and then provide a second negative test result.
The new measures are to limit the spread of new strains of Covid-19 and to prevent them from becoming dominant in France, with fears the UK strain now accounts for between 1-1.5 per cent of all cases nationally.
Paris is working to coordinate a response with the bloc about arrivals from EU countries, the prime minister said.
The Élysée Palace is trying to avoid a third national lockdown by introducing partial measures such as curfews, which Mr Castex called both "preventative" and "reactive".
From Saturday, stores must shut on time and "everyone must be home at 6pm", Mr Castex said, while bars and restaurants across the country have been closed for months.
The average Covid infection rate in the country now stands at around 16,000 people per day.
France also has one of the highest death tolls in Europe - more than 69,000 - and places seventh in the world behind countries such as the UK, US and Brazil.