France’s health minister considering new restrictions & regional lockdowns as Covid-19 spread continues

France’s accelerating spread of Covid-19 is likely to prompt it to impose new restrictions, including regional lockdowns, the country’s health minister has said. The situation is especially bad in the southern resort city of Nice.

Health Minister Olivier Veran visited that city on Saturday, inspecting a local health center. Nice has experienced a major surge in coronavirus lately, becoming the worst-affected city in the country, with an infection rate of 751 cases per 100,000 people.

“There are a few cities and areas in France where the virus is circulating much more quickly than elsewhere and this may require regional confinement measures,” Veran stated.

Local authorities are ready to implement additional restrictions, waiting only for the central government to make the decision on their scope, Nice’s Mayor Christian Estrosi said, speaking alongside Veran.

If the government decides we need to go to a partial lockdown, for instance each weekend, I will support it and encourage it.

France emerged from its second nationwide lockdown back in November, replacing it with a curfew that was then further tightened in mid-January to a 6pm deadline. The restrictive measures, however, have apparently failed to slow down the spread, and top French officials have repeatedly mulled the possibility of a new nationwide lockdown.

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Still, no decision on locking up France again has so far been made, with the main talking point against it being concerns over the major economic impact it would inflict.

France remains among the worst-affected nations in the world, with its infections tally approaching the 3.6 million mark. More than 80,000 people have succumbed to the disease across the nation since the beginning of the pandemic.

France reported over 24,000 new infections on Friday, showing an increase of almost 4,000 compared to a week ago. The seven-day average of new infections grew as well, rising over the 19,000 mark.

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Among European countries, France’s tally is dwarfed only by the UK’s figures. Britain has reached well past the four-million mark for infections, while some 120,000 people have died with Covid-19.

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