French PM: No new nationwide lockdown over COVID-19 surge

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthias Blamont PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday his government was not planning a new, nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, but would instead implement a raft of less radical measures.

Reuters September 12, 2020 00:13:38 IST
French PM: No new nationwide lockdown over COVID-19 surge

French PM No new nationwide lockdown over COVID19 surge

By Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthias Blamont

PARIS (Reuters) - French Prime Minister Jean Castex said on Friday his government was not planning a new, nationwide lockdown to contain a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, but would instead implement a raft of less radical measures.

France has the world's seventh-highest COVID death toll, and President Emmanuel Macron's government is trying to curb the virus while ensuring that economic and social activities, such as schoolchildren's education, can continue as much as possible.

Castex said new measures would include fast-tracked testing for priority cases to reduce time spent waiting for results, and targeted restrictions in areas of the country hit especially hard by the pandemic.

"The virus is with us for several more months and we must manage to live with it without letting ourselves get drawn once again into a narrative of nationwide lockdown," Castex said in a televised address.

France reported 9,406 new COVID cases on Friday, which followed 9,843 new cases recorded on Thursday. The number of French COVID deaths rose by 40 over the last 24 hours to stand at 30,893 casualties. (https://tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7)

France imposed a strict lockdown in March, at the height of the epidemic's first wave. That succeeded in preventing hospitals from being overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases, but also dealt a severe blow to the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

That lockdown was relaxed towards the start of May. Since then, the number of cases has gradually risen and the number of people sick enough with the virus to need hospital treatment has increased.

Castex said the rise in cases was particularly worrying in three areas - the cities of Marseille and Bordeaux, and the French Caribbean territory of Guadeloupe.

He said he had asked leaders of those regions to submit their proposals to him on Monday for local measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Local officials throughout France would have enhanced powers to impose new restrictions if they deemed it necessary, including making some businesses reduce their opening hours, the prime minister said.

Castex, who himself is in isolation after coming into contact with someone infected with COVID-19, said some French citizens had let down their guard against the disease.

They needed to be more disciplined about social distancing, washing their hands and wearing masks, he said.

"I solemnly appeal today to the sense of responsibility of each one of you," said Castex.

"The only way we will succeed in stopping this epidemic is if all of us are vigilant and stick together."

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Catherine Evans and Elaine Hardcastle)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.