The infection process in France appears to have gotten out of hand: in Paris and eight other Corona hotspots, citizens are no longer allowed to leave their homes between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. France reported more than 25,000 new corona infections within one day on Friday evening, the day before there were even more than 30,000. The number of corona deaths rose by 122 on Friday to a total of 33,303 since the outbreak of the pandemic. The new curfew is the toughest measure in France since the nationwide lockdown ended on May 11.
On the eve of the measure, which went into effect at midnight, there were still plenty of people in the capital. On Friday around 10 p.m., the terraces of the brasseries and restaurants that were still open on the Square of the Republic in Paris were still full. “We will enjoy it for as long as possible,” said a 19-year-old student, accompanied by four friends. “We go to the restaurant, tour the bars and take a short walk.”
Prime Minister Jean Castex turned down exceptions for the cultural sector on Friday. “Everyone has to be home by 9 pm,” said Prime Minister Castex of the new curfew for the metropolitan areas of Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille, Rouen, Saint-Etienne, Grenoble, Toulouse and Montpellier. There are exceptions for travel to work, medical reasons, walking a dog or caring for a loved one. Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said this would cost the economy less than a nationwide lockdown.
The French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot had previously identified exceptions for cinemas, theaters and concert halls as conceivable and thus raised hope. The cultural institutions in the affected cities now have to close at 9 p.m., as well as restaurants.
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A few hours before a curfew began, a court in Toulouse overturned a local scheme to contain corona infections. The administrative court in the southwestern French town rejected an order from authorities to close bars and restrict restaurants as too far away.
In Toulouse, the prefecture also ordered the closing of bars on October 12 and the restriction to groups of six people in restaurants. A number of industry representatives who feared the economic survival of their operations had been charged. The court now dismissed the restrictions as disproportionate, but the curfews imposed by the central government in Paris are appropriate to address the worsening corona situation.
Prime Minister Castex emphasized during the visit to the University Hospital Lille that the government wanted to help the hospitals that came under pressure again in the second corona wave. According to Castex, “nearly 40” percent of the intensive care beds at Lille University Hospital are occupied by corona patients, and even more in Paris. Many hospitals could reach their limits again at the end of October.
A German travel warning “for all of France” will also go into effect on Saturday, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced. Only overseas territories such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia are not affected, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs “strongly advises against” traveling here as well. The border area with Alsace, Lorraine and the administrative district of Champagne-Ardenne is also considered a risk area for the first time since mid-June, the Robert Koch Institute announced. This caused unrest in the region.
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“The borders will not be closed,” assured the affected French region of Grand Est. Baden-Württemberg, Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate also declared that the borders would remain open. Daily life, work and study should not be “paralyzed by a complete lockdown”, said Prime Ministers Winfried Kretschmann (Greens), Tobias Hans (CDU) and Malu Dreyer (SPD). During the first Corona wave in the spring, Germany had largely closed the border with France.
According to the three Länder, cross-border commuters are allowed to move “within 24 hours in the border area” without restriction. The French do not have to pass a negative corona test or go into quarantine to shop in Germany. Exceptions of 72 hours are even planned for family reunions, doctor’s visits or compelling professional reasons, said the French parliamentarian Christophe Arend of the radio station France Bleu. In France there is no quarantine requirement for travelers from Germany. (AFP)