• Thursday, May 13, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:50 am

France says to extend curfew measures as Covid-19 spreads

  • Published at 12:59 am October 22nd, 2020
File photo: Customers are seen on the terrace of 'Chez Marianne' restaurant in Le Marais district in Paris on October 19, 2020 Reuters

The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care went over 2,000 on Monday for the first time since May, and 278 new such cases were admitted on Tuesday

France will place more regions on the highest health alert level as coronavirus infections continue to spread fast, the government's spokesman said yesterday.

A nightly curfew from 9:00pm, local time to 6:00am went into force at the weekend in Paris and several other French cities in response to daily new infections reaching record levels.

The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care went over 2,000 on Monday for the first time since May, and 278 new such cases were admitted on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Jean Castex is to hold a news conference today "which will see an announcement that a certain number of departments are being moved to the maximum alert level," government spokesman Gabriel Attal said after yesterday cabinet meeting. A curfew would be ordered for "some of them," he said.

Some 20 million French people have already been ordered to stay home every night under a curfew adopted after an alarming surge in new coronavirus cases. 

The government has said it did not expect the curfew to have a real impact on virus numbers before two or three weeks.

Yesterday, cabinet meeting approved a draft law extending France's state of health emergency, the legal framework for exceptional measures such as curfews, which was to expire next month, until February 2021. 

The draft law will also allow the government to impose curbs on people's movements, the opening hours of bars and restaurants as well as public gatherings until April next year if necessary.

Tougher curbs in north England

The virus has claimed at least 1,126,471 lives worldwide since it first emerged in China late last year, according to an AFP tally yesterday at 1100 GMT, based on official sources. At least 40,856,217 cases have been registered across the globe.

More than a million people in northern England will be banned from mixing with other households under tougher new rules announced by government minister Robert Jenrick.

The county of South Yorkshire, which includes the city of Sheffield, will enter into "very high alert" restrictions from 2301 on Friday GMT.

The decision will affect around 1.4 million people, meaning that 7.3 million people -- or 13% of England's population -- will now be living under the toughest restrictions.

Ireland begins second lockdown

Ireland braces for the start of a second nationwide lockdown, with measures coming into effect from midnight, to last six weeks.

All citizens are asked to remain at home, with a strict five-kilometre travel limit, while bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway service only. 

A ban on visits between households has also been extended, but unlike the first lockdown in March, schools will remain open.

First tourists in Thailand

Thailand welcomes its first group of tourists in seven months, as part of an experiment aimed at testing if a wider opening is possible.

A planeload of 39 Chinese tourists flew into Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport from Shanghai to a welcome from staff in full protective equipment.

The visitors underwent health checks and had their luggage disinfected, before donning protective clothing themselves and being whisked away for two weeks' quarantine.

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