A proposal to plunge Paris into a hard three-week Covid-19 lockdown and then fully reopen the French capital’s entire economy was slammed by the country’s Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday.
The PM said it was “nonsense” that a so-called “circuit-breaker” lockdown would allow Paris to reopen after just a few weeks due to the threat of new, more infectious strains of the virus.
Under the proposal, revealed by the city’s Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire on Thursday, bars, restaurants and cultural venues could all be allowed to open after three weeks of severe lockdown.
“You have heard the mayor of Paris say that we have to confine three weeks and then it’s over,” Castex said on Friday, while visiting a hospital in the western French city of Nantes.
“But you know very well that with the variants etc, it is not possible. We must not speak nonsense. We must never speak nonsense.”
France has recently seen a slight rise in Covid-19 infection rates, fueled by the spread of a more transmissible variant of the virus, first discovered in the UK.
On Thursday, the government placed 20 French territories, including Paris and the wider Ile-de-France, into “reinforced surveillance,” meaning they could be put under heavier restrictions if the infection rates don’t fall.
While the country as a whole has seen infection rates creep up, some areas, such as Nice and Dunkirk have seen a surge in new cases of the virus.
The two regions have both been placed under restrictive weekend lockdowns, as opposed to the marginally more lenient curfew measures the rest of the country is currently under.
Among the weekend measures being enforced are bans on public alcohol consumption, five-kilometer movement limits from home, and the closure of some non-essential retailers.
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