Macron orders France back into Covid-19 lockdown

Nationwide restrictions begin on Friday and will initially remain in place until December 1

France goes into second national lockdown

France goes into second national lockdown
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France will return to nationwide lockdown this week to try to contain the Covid-19 epidemic that is again threatening to spiral out of control, French President Emmanuel Macron told the nation on Wednesday.

The new measures, which come into force on Friday, will mean people have to stay in their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical attention, or use their daily one-hour allocation of exercise.

People will be allowed to go to work if their employer deems it impossible for them to do the job from home, and unlike the first lockdown in March, most schools will remain open, Mr Macron said.

"The virus is circulating at a speed that not even the most pessimistic forecasts had anticipated," he said.

"Like all our neighbours, we are submerged by the sudden acceleration of the virus.

"We are all in the same position, overrun by a second wave that we know will be harder, more deadly than the first."

France enforced an eight-week lockdown in the spring, when hospital admissions and deaths reached a peak.

The lockdown was effective at containing the epidemic but it started spreading again after it was relaxed on May 11, and people started gathering again in classrooms, universities, bars and restaurants.

France on Tuesday reported 523 new deaths from coronavirus over the previous 24 hours, the highest daily toll since April when the virus was at its most severe.

Doctors have warned that intensive care units could become overwhelmed.

France's death toll, at almost 36,000, is the seventh highest in the world, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.

This month, Mr Macron announced a night-time curfew in Paris and other big cities, but officials this week acknowledged that measure was not enough to bring down infection rates.