France lifts Covid curfew after eight months

16 June 2021, 19:46

As it's height, France's curfew left streets deserted between 6pm and 6am
As it's height, France's curfew left streets deserted between 6pm and 6am. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

France has announced it will halt its eight-month nightly curfew this weekend as coronavirus cases continue to fall.

The French prime minister, Jean Castex, announced the lifting of the curfew, as well as a relaxation of the rules surrounding masks, as France is now registering about 3,900 new virus cases a day, down from 35,000 a day in the peak in March and April.

"We have not known such a low level of virus spreading since last August," Mr Castex said, adding that the situation was improving in all of France's regions.

"Those positive evolutions are due to the mobilisation of the French and to the vaccination campaign," he said.

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The French have been living under night-time curfews since mid-October.

When the numbers of infections were at their highest level, from mid-January to mid-May, the curfew was from 6pm to 6am, with shops closed and exceptions only for workers and quick walks for pets.

It had been gradually pushed back to start at 11pm.

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The lifting of the curfew will come into force on Sunday, 10 days earlier than planned.

It will also no longer be mandatory to wear masks outside, although it will still be necessary for crowded outdoor places such as stadiums and markets, and in indoor public spaces, apart from restaurants and bars.

The curfew in France was enforced by police
The curfew in France was enforced by police. Picture: PA

However, French President Emmanuel Macron called on people to remain cautious.

"We can only welcome the fact that we have had the right strategy... We see where we are and each time we are adapting things," Mr Macron said, speaking in Paris.

"But with great caution, nothing is guaranteed... So I'm inviting all our fellow citizens to continue to get the vaccine."

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More than 58 per cent of France's adult population had received at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose.

On Tuesday, the European Union nation opened its vaccination programmes to those aged 12 to 18 as part of a push to protect residents as restrictions are gradually lifted.

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France, which has one of the highest Covid-19 death tolls in Europe, has cautiously reopened over the past couple of months.

Terraces at restaurants and cafes, theatres, cinemas and museums all reopened on 19 May.

And last week, France reopened indoor spaces in restaurants and cafes as well as gyms and swimming pools.

Major sporting and cultural events can host a maximum of 5,000 people, with all attending need to show a vaccination certificate or a negative test within the last 48 hours.

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